Knobloch 298,88 ap.
(photo credit: )
The newly elected leader of Germany's main Jewish organization said that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a "second Hitler" who should not be allowed to attend the World Cup, according to comments published Thursday.
Ahmadinejad should not be allowed to set foot on German soil, said Charlotte Knobloch, according to the top-selling Bild newspaper. Knobloch was elected Wednesday as president of Germany's Central Council of Jews.
"For me this man is a second Hitler," the newspaper quoted Knobloch as saying. "He denies the Holocaust, that is illegal in Germany. The German government should therefore not protect him with diplomatic immunity. The authorities should rather investigate him and charge him."
Ahmadinejad has indicated more than once that he might visit the national team during the World Cup, though no specific plans have been announced.
On Wednesday, Germany's Foreign Ministry confirmed it had granted a visa for an Iranian vice president, Mohammed Aliabadi, to attend the World Cup, which starts Friday.
Aliabadi, 50, is one of seven Iranian vice presidents and is the head of the state's physical education organization, which said he is attending the soccer tournament independently to watch Iran play and is not representing Ahmadinejad.
If Ahmadinejad were to show up, it would create a security headache for both the German government and the tournament's organizers.
Iran opens its play against Mexico on Sunday in the southern German city of Nuremberg in the first game of Group D, which also includes Angola and Portugal.
Several demonstrations are already planned, including one by Amnesty International, the Israeli Cultural organization and the exiled Iranian dissident groups.
Germany's far-right activists have also threatened to hold demonstrations in support of Ahmadinejad, who has sparked international outrage for repeatedly questioning Israel's right to exist, saying the country should be wiped off the map and dismissing the Nazi Holocaust as a myth.