Politicians Want Iran′s President Banned From World Cup | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 15.04.2006
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Politicians Want Iran's President Banned From World Cup

After the Iranian president again questioned whether the Holocaust really took place, leading members of Chancellor Merkel's party called for Germany to ban him from attending the World Cup.


Ahmadinejad's comments on the Holocaust have riled Germans

"It would be desirable for the government to make clear through diplomatic channels that (Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad's visit to Germany is not desired," said Christian Union parliamentary group chief Wolfgang Bosbach Die Welt am Sonntag weekly reported on Friday.

World soccer federation FIFA should declare the Iranian president persona non grata for the duration of the tournament, Christian Democratic state party spokesman Georg Brunnhuber said. "The European Union should… back Germany in declaring him persona non grata."

"One should make it clear to Ahmadinejad that he should refrain from visiting Germany," said Christian Union domestic affairs spokesman Hans-Peter Uhl.

Government "at a loss"

The German government has so far not taken a position on a possible visit by the Iranian president. "We are still at a loss as to what we should do if Ahmadinejad wants to experience his national team's games live in Germany," the Rheinische Post daily on Saturday quoted a government official as saying. He added that there were "clear signals" that the European Union was seriously considering imposing a bloc-wide ban on Iran's political leadership such as has been applied to Belarusian leaders.

Sport im Iran - Fußball 2

Ahmadinejad may well want to watch his team play in person

"That would be an elegant solution for our problem, because we could then deny Ahmadinejad entry," the chancellery official said.

Government spokesman Thomas Steg said on Monday that it was still not foreseeable whether the Iranian leader would come to Germany. Neither the German soccer association DSB, nor FIFA nor the German government had invited him, Steg said.

Ahmadinejad presses on

Unfazed by his critics in Europe and Washington -- who have put increasing pressure on Iran over its disputed nuclear drive -- the Iranian president again attacked Israel and called the Holocaust into question on Friday.

"The Zionist regime is an injustice and by its very nature a permanent threat," Ahmadinejad told a Tehran conference meant to rally support for the cash-strapped Hamas-led Palestinian government. "Whether you like it or not, the Zionist regime is on the road to being eliminated," said Ahmadinejad, whose regime does not recognize Israel and who drew international condemnation last year when he said Israel should be "wiped off the map."

"If there is serious doubt over the Holocaust, there is no doubt over the catastrophe and Holocaust being faced by the Palestinians," said the president, who had previously dismissed as a "myth" the killing of an estimated 6 million Jews by the Nazis and their allies during World War II. "I tell the governments who support Zionism to ... let the migrants (Jews) return to their countries of origin. If you think you owe them something, give them some of your land," he said.

Hamas Ismail Hanija in Gaza

The EU and US have been increasing the pressure on Palestinian Prime Minister Haniyeh

EU foreign ministers on Monday formally backed plans for a temporary aid suspension to the Palestinian government, having called on Hamas to renounce violence, recognize Israel and abide by previous Palestinian commitments.

The EU gives about 500 million euros ($600 million) a year to the Palestinian Authority, about half of it collectively through Brussels and the rest from individual EU governments.

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