German foundation dismisses Iranian deputy FM

Mostafa Dolatyar allegedly called for fulfillment of Ayatollah Khomeini prophecy of the destruction of Israel.

By JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
December 1, 2011 03:48
2 minute read.
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German flag of Germany 311. (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)

 
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BERLIN – Rising criticism from prominent German- Iranians, NGOs and the federal commissioner for culture and media prompted an elite cultural foundation on Tuesday to eject Iran’s acting Deputy Foreign Minister Mostafa Dolatyar from its board of trustees because he called for the destruction of Israel.

According to a report in Iran’s Mahan News in 2010, Dolatyar said, “We hope that the prophecy of the Imam [Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini] regarding the downfall of this regime [Israel] will occur very soon and that we will witness it.”

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A spokesman for Bernd Neumann, Germany’s federal culture commissioner, told The Jerusalem Post that one of the reasons Neumann resigned from the board of the Schloss Neuhardenberg Foundation last week was Dolatyar’s presence on it.

The Berlin daily Tagesspiegel wrote on Tuesday that Dolatyar was ejected because of his previous “anti-Semitic, aggressive anti-Israeli statement.”

Spokesman Jörg Kronsbein told the Post that the foundation was unaware of the anti-Israel statement from Dolatyar. The foundation has been immersed in criticism because of it close ties with Iran’s regime.

According to the foundation’s website, the institution seeks “to deepen relations” and is a “place of meeting” for different cultures.

In October, the foundation planned a discussion panel with Iran’s Ambassador to Germany Ali Reza Seikh Attar and German philosopher Rüdiger Safranski to talk about Iran’s 14th-century national poet Hafez. Anti-Iranian regime groups and Iranian dissident mounted protests, triggering the cancellation of the event. The foundation continued to defend its strategy of dialogue with Tehran and blamed the advocates of democracy in Iran for not allowing for a conflict-free discussion.

In an telephone interview with the Post on Tuesday, Dr. Shimon Samuels, from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said dropping Dolatyar was a “signal to all German banks and corporations and their easy-going policy toward Iran.”

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Speaking from Paris, Samuels added that "if a deputy Iranian foreign minister is an untouchable," business contacts with Iran should be untouchable for bankers and corporations and all mid-level businesses in the Federal Republic. He said Neumann "should be highly commended and is a man who stands by his convictions."

In an e-mail to the Post, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center, wrote, "The Simon Wiesenthal Center welcomes the Foundation's action in evicting an anti-Semite representing an anti-Semitic regime in Tehran, off its board. We hope other leaders in Germany, the European Community and the US will begin to hold accountable other prominent individuals and groups in the Muslim and Arab world who pay no price in the international community for their promotion of genocidal hatred of the Jewish people."

Dr. Wahied Wahdat-Hagh, an authority on German-Iranian relations, who discovered Dolatyar's quote in the Persian-language article, told the Post on Wednesday that " Germany should show solidarity with England and recall its Ambassador and diplomats from Tehran." He said the "German government should better control and restrict trade relations with Iran because Iran is dependent on its imports. German firms should abandon their exports to Iran. The economic relationships primarily helps the totalitarian dictator in Iran."

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