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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 June 2006, 09:00 GMT 10:00 UK
Germany urged to bar Iran leader
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Mr Ahmadinejad's Holocaust remarks were widely condemned
The newly elected leader of Germany's main Jewish body has said the Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, should be barred from the World Cup.

Charlotte Knobloch described him as "a second Hitler". "He denies the Holocaust - that is illegal in Germany," she told the newspaper Bild.

Mr Ahmadinejad has said he might go and support the Iranian team in Germany.

Germany has already granted a visa to an Iranian Vice President, Mohammad Aliabadi, to attend the World Cup.


Mrs Knobloch, elected leader of Germany's Central Council of Jews on Wednesday, said the German government should not invoke diplomatic immunity for Mr Ahmadinejad, but rather should "investigate and charge him".

For me this man is a second Hitler
Charlotte Knobloch
Denial of the Nazi extermination of Jews in World War II is a serious offence in Germany, punishable by up to five years in prison.

Mr Ahmadinejad has described the Holocaust as a "myth" and said Israel should be "wiped off the map".

The far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) has plans to hold a march in Leipzig during the World Cup, to show solidarity with him.

Iran opens its World Cup campaign with a match against Mexico on Sunday in Nuremberg.

Several groups plan to participate in a demonstration against Mr Ahmadinejad on Sunday, including the Israeli cultural organisation and exiled Iranian dissident groups.

Bavaria's Interior Minister Guenther Beckstein plans to join the demonstration.

"If he were to come, we, as Germans, must make it very clear that he is not wanted here," Mr Beckstein said.

He said it "would be for the best if Iran's president were not to come".

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