Iranian VP granted visa to Germany for World Cup

Mohammed Aliabadi, head of Iran's physical education organization, is attending for the games and not representing Ahmadinejad.

iran flag 88 (photo credit: )
iran flag 88
(photo credit: )
Germany's Foreign Ministry said Wednesday it had granted a visa to one of Iran's vice presidents to attend the World Cup. Mohammed Aliabadi, 50, is one of seven Iranian vice presidents and the head of the state's physical education organization. He is attending the World Cup to watch Iran play and is not representing hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a spokesman for his organization in Tehran said. The announcement comes one day after The Jerusalem Post reported that Ahmadinejad would attend the sporting event should Iran make it to the knock-out round. The Simon Wiesenthal Center has started an online petition in response to the report. It urges German Chancellor Angela Merkel not to allow Ahmadinejad to attend the competition, even though as a head of state he doesn't a visa to enter the country. Aliabadi is expected to arrive Thursday, a day before the tournament begins and three days before Iran's opening match against Mexico. The Associated Press contributed to this report.