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The BBC's Rob Broomby
"Once again the visit was subject to tight policing"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 12 July, 2000, 16:23 GMT 17:23 UK
Khatami visit ends with protests
Arrest of protester
Police moved in swiftly to break up demos
Renewed protests have met Iranian President Mohammad Khatami on the third and final day of his state visit to Germany.

"Death to Khatami," Iranians in exile chanted as thousands of police ensured the strictest possible security measures to protect him on a visit to the historic eastern city of Weimar.

Police said they had detained 50 people in and around the city.

But they were unable to prevent brief demonstrations accusing the Iranian Government of stifling free speech when Mr Khatami visited the house of Germany's greatest literary figure, Goethe.

Khatami, left, and German President Johannes Rau
Khatami, left, and President Rau held a public discussion
The authorities have taken tough measures for the landmark three-day visit, turning back Iranians at the border, ordering others to report to police, searching the homes of activists and making numerous arrests.

The purpose of Mr Khatami's trip to Weimar was to unveil a memorial to Goethe, and the 14th-century Persian poet, Hafez, whose work inspired the German writer.


Afterwards, in a public discussion with the German President, Johannes Rau, Mr Khatami called for a dialogue of civilisations, which he described as a search for sympathetic and trustworthy contact.

Germany and Iran: Strained ties
1997: German court rules Tehran ordered the death of four dissident Iranian exiles in Berlin
1998: German Helmut Hofer arrested and initially sentenced to death for an affair with an Iranian woman; released in January
2000: Iran's judiciary orders the arrest of intellectuals who attended a Berlin conference
The BBC's Germany correspondent says the need for better understanding between the Islamic and Western traditions has been at the centre of the trip, the first two days of which were spent in Berlin, where politics and business took centre stage.

German-Iranian relations are emerging from a frosty period that started with the Mykonos trial of 1992, in which a Berlin court incriminated the Iranian leadership in the assassinations of four dissidents in a Berlin restaurant, and accused Tehran of terrorism.

Iran's recent release of the German businessman Helmut Hofer, who was imprisoned for two years on charges of illicit sexual relations with an Iranian woman, paved the way for the first state visit by an Iranian leader in 33 years.

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See also:

10 Jul 00 | Middle East
'New start' for Iran-German relations
10 Jul 00 | Middle East
Analysis: Khatami's high-risk venture
26 Feb 00 | Middle East
Khatami's caution to West
20 Jan 00 | Middle East
Iran frees German businessman
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