Germany is opening its borders to 50 Iranian dissidents - mostly journalists critical of Tehran. The refugees first fled to Turkey in the fallout of last year's presidential election.
Iranian protesters found solidarity in Germany
Germany has granted asylum to 50 Iranian dissidents who fled their country in the wake of post-election protests last year.
A spokesman from the German Interior Ministry confirmed that Germany had already begun admitting the Iranians, as reported earlier in the week by news magazine Der Spiegel.
"Twelve have already arrived over the past weeks. Another one will arrive next week," said the spokesman, who insisted on remaining anonymous.
A further 26 Iranians have been approved to enter Germany, while the remaining cases have yet to be approved by German authorities in conjunction with the United Nations and Turkey, where most of the asylum-seekers initially fled.
Dissidents were critical of Iran's government
Germany had originally planned to admit to up to 20 Iranians but raised the number after criticism from Germany's Iranian expatriate community and the rights advocates Reporters Without Borders.
Thousands of Iranians fled to Turkey after last year's election
Most of the refugees are journalists who were critical of Iran's government, according to an Iranian human rights activist quoted by Der Spiegel.
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere decided to grant asylum to Iranian dissidents in March. The figure of 50 was reached with regional ministers in May. The majority of the refugees are being taken in by the city-state of Berlin, with further asylum-seekers in Hamburg and North Rhine-Westphalia.
The re-election of ultraconservative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June 2009 sparked a massive wave of protests by supporters of opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi.
Author: David Levitz (AP/dpa/Reuters)
Editor: Martin Kuebler