Analysts: Eject Iran official from German foundation

Deputy FM of Islamic Republic sits on board of esteemed cultural foundation despite having called for destruction of Israel.

German flag of Germany 311 (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
German flag of Germany 311
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
BERLIN – Iran’s acting Deputy Foreign Minister Mostafa Dolatyar has called for the elimination of Israel while continuing to hold a board of trustees seat with an elite German cultural foundation.
“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,” Dolatyar was quoted as saying by the state-controlled Mahan News in 2010.
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In a Jerusalem Post telephone interview on Sunday, German- Iranian expert Dr. Wahied Wahdat-Hagh said he found Dolatyar’s quote in an article titled, “The measures of the Zionists are a sign for crisis situation,” in the Persian-language newspaper.
Dolatyar is a member of the Schloss Neuhardenberg Foundation’s board of directors. The foundation administers a castle compound outside of Berlin in the state of Brandenburg, which hosts educational and cultural events.
Nasrin Amirsedghi, a leading German-Iranian intellectual who has written extensively about Iranian culture, wrote the Post by e-mail on Sunday that “on the website of the Schloss Neuhardenberg it states, ‘Historical space for new thoughts.’ With the Iranian Deputy Minister Mostafa Dolatyar as a board of trustees member the foundation proves that it is a historical place for old thoughts, namely, a place for anti-Jewish thinking, which now makes possible the work of the National Socialists with help from the Iranian regime to bring to an end, that is, the extermination of the Jews! It is, for me, beyond comprehension that Germany still has not learned from its atrocious acts, massacres, and terror against Jews. It is a disgrace for the world...”
In an e-mail issued to Bernd Neumann, the German federal commissioner for culture and the media who is on the foundation’s board of trustees, Dr. Shimon Samuels, director for international relations for the Wiesenthal Center, wrote, “Dolatyar represents the patron of international terrorism, homophobia, the stoning of women, the execution of Bahais, a state policy of Holocaust denial and genocidal threats against the State of Israel.”
Samuels continued, “With Dolatyar on the foundation’s board, there is an arguable conflict of interest. It is an unambiguous violation of German, EU and UN sanctions regimes on trade with Iran.
Furthermore, it challenges the impartiality of the international programs held on the Schloss Neuhardenberg’s premises.”
The Wiesenthal Center “calls for a federal investigation into the activities of the foundation and the divestiture of Dolatyar from its board and membership.
Pending these measures, we also urge you [Neumann] to immediately announce your personal resignation from the board.”
Samuels added that “cultural fraternization with a declared anti-Semite, who is a spokesman for a regime that threatens world peace, is not fitting for contemporary Germany.”
In a Post telephone conversation Monday with a spokesman for Bernd Neumann, German federal commissioner for culture and the media ,said that the commissioner resigned his post on the foundation's board of trustees roughly a week ago. Asked for the reason for his resignation, the spokesman said foundation's board no longer "passes" to the commissioner's activities and because of the "Iranian" on the board. The spokesman condemned any statements denying Israel's right to exist.
Jörg Kronsbein, a spokesman for Schloss Neuhardenberg, wrote the Post that there is a long-standing relationship to Iran dating back to 2001 and “the foundation will examine whether the contacts... will continue to be retained in the course of the new structure of the board... The statements of the acting vice minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mostafa Dolatyar, with respect to Israel, which was not known to the Stiftung Schloss Neuhardenberg, are entirely unacceptable.”
Dr. Wahdat-Hagh, who discovered the anti-Israeli quote in the Iranian press, told the Post that he suspects that  Schloss Neuhardenberg, which is owned by the Bank Sparkasse, is interested in using Dolatyar as a bridge to expand German-Iranian trade. Wahdat-Hagh has authored authoritative scholarly books on the Islamic Republic's totalitarian system.
In an e-mail to the Post on Sunday, Saba Farzan, a German-Iranian journalist , wrote, "It is a terrible shame for my country Germany that a  representative of such an inhuman regime is part of a leading foundation. A foundation that is truly committed to tolerance and defending democratic values shouldn't have accepted an anti-Semitic regime representative in the first place and should now immediately remove such a figure. The foundation Schloss Neuhardenberg should be at the forefront of supporting Iran's democracy movement - it should host conferences with young Iranian activists who were forced to leave their country, it should adopt imprisoned journalists and intellectuals, it should award courageous freedom fighters with prizes and so forth, but certainly not keeping the representative of a totalitarian dictatorship among its institution."
Farzan, a leading expert in Europe on the Islamic Republic, continued that "Foundations and NGO's reflect the strength of a civil society to confront intolerance and injustice. How one cannot see that the Iranian freedom movement is in the tradition of East Germany's peaceful revolution of 1989 is beyond me. And how all these freedom voices inside Iran that are calling for an end of negotiating and tolerating this disgusting dictatorship are constantly ignored is a lack of values that leaves me speechless. The red carpet approach towards the Iranian regime is over in Europe - it is only in my country Germany where politicians and various institutions that still haven't got the message."
Nasrin Amirsedghi added that "Human rights, full personal freedom, artistic and press freedoms and freedom of opinion are in Iran every second stomped over in a bestial way. Every voice of resistance against the lack of freedom is smothered everywhere in the country with Middle Age methods. And now sits a representative of the regime in a German foundation, which presents itself as ideal location for international meetings for art, politics, science and problems of 'our time.' I see a betrayal of the Jewish and Iranian peoples. Once again, a disgrace for Germany."