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16 February 2006
TEHRAN - Some fifty members of the Iranian students' movement DTV held a peaceful protest demonstration at the German embassy in Tehran against the cartoons of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed and against a cartoon of the Iranian national football team.
The students, including women, carried banners such as "Merkel = Hitler", "No insults to our sanctities", "Any insults of the Iranian national football team will lead to closure of the German embassy" and "Nuclear technology is the undeniable right of Iran."
The cartoons of Prophet Mohammed were printed in several Western newspapers, including in Germany, and caused widespread anger in Iran.
In addition a cartoon printed in a German newspaper showing the Iranian national football team standing in a World Cup stadium with bombs strapped to their jerseys has caused anger in Iran, even among ordinary people not interested in politics.
The cartoon, which was printed in last Friday's edition of Berlin's Tagesspiegel, also depicts German soldiers standing in the stadium with a caption saying "Why at the World Cup of all places does the German army have to be on duty?"
"The Prophet is sacred for us and the national team represents our land and our people," said metaphysics student Fatemeh.
"Therefore we have every right to take these insulting cartoons as personal and very serious," she added.
Another metaphysics student, Mohammed, called on the Western press to admit that the aim of the cartoons was to provoke Muslims.
"In Germany for example they say that the (football) cartoon was a critique against internal policies (use of the army at the World Cup), so what were our players doing in the cartoon?" he said.
"Furthermore, another Muslim country is at the World Cup which knowingly is more affiliated to the main leader of terrorism," Mohammed added, referring to al-Qaeda leader Osama bin-Laden who comes from Saudi Arabia.
Some 200 police and anti-riot forces gathered around the embassy to prevent the students from getting too close to the building.
The DTV students, who are close to the country's reformers and former president Mohammed Khatami, ended their demonstration with a mass prayer in front of the embassy building.
During Tuesday's demonstrations at the German embassy, clashes occurred between police and hardline Islamist students who threw stones and Molotov cocktails at the embassy building and shouted "Death to Germany".
Subject: German news
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