EU lawmakers seek to ban Iran's president

2nd June 2006, Comments 0 comments

02 June 2006, FRANKFURET/BRUSSELS - Members of the European Parliament added to demands this week by German Jewish and non-Jewish groups for an indefinite ban on visits to the European Union by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in protest at his comments against Israel. A group of 75 European lawmakers from all major political groups signed a petition against the Iranian leader which has been sent to current EU president Austria and FIFA, the governing body of world soccer. The parliamentarians are ask

02 June 2006

FRANKFURET/BRUSSELS - Members of the European Parliament added to demands this week by German Jewish and non-Jewish groups for an indefinite ban on visits to the European Union by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in protest at his comments against Israel.

A group of 75 European lawmakers from all major political groups signed a petition against the Iranian leader which has been sent to current EU president Austria and FIFA, the governing body of world soccer.

The parliamentarians are asking that Ahmadinejad be banned from travelling to Germany to watch his team play in the World Cup. The restrictions should also apply to travel to other EU states, the petition said.

"Ahmedinejad's likely visit to Europe would send a wrong signal to the Europeans and the international community and in particular to the suppressed people of Iran," the petition said.

Travel bans have to be agreed by EU governments. Last month, EU governments slapped a travel ban on Belarus' authoritarian president Alexander Lukashenko and 30 other top Belarusian officials following the March presidential elections which are widely believed to be rigged.

More than 4,000 people in Germany have also signed a petition calling on Berlin to bar Ahmadinejad from attending the World Cup.

The petition, signed by members of Jewish and non-Jewish communities, accuses the Iranian president of anti-Semitism over remarks denying the Holocaust and calling for Israel to be "wiped off the map."

Germany should not extend the hand of friendship to Ahmadinejad or give him tickets to watch Iran play in Germany, according to the petition published Thursday.

Ahmadinejad, who is a keen football fan, has left it open whether he would visit Germany for the World Cup, which kicks off on June 9 in Munich.

The organizers of the petition said they would stage protests against Ahmadinejad at all three of Iran's group games - Nuremberg (June 11), Frankfurt (June 17) and Leipzig (June 21).

German neo-Nazis are planning rallies in support of the president and his policies during the World Cup.

DPA

Subject: German News

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