AP: State prosecutors in Frankfurt confirmed Monday they are investigating a 10-year-old girl’s allegations she was inappropriately touched by an Iranian diplomat — a case that Tehran claims is part of a smear campaign by an Iranian opposition group.
The Associated Press
By DAVID RISING
BERLIN (AP) — State prosecutors in Frankfurt confirmed Monday they are investigating a 10-year-old girl’s allegations she was inappropriately touched by an Iranian diplomat — a case that Tehran claims is part of a smear campaign by an Iranian opposition group.
It was the second allegation of improper behavior with young girls involving an Iranian diplomat posted abroad since April.
In the most recent case, the 45-year-old Iranian man is alleged by the girl to have approached her on the evening of June 25 while she was playing outside her apartment building in Frankfurt and stroked her hair, prosecutors’ spokeswoman Doris Moeller-Scheu said.
The girl told police that the employee of Iran’s consulate in Frankfurt, whose name was not released in accordance with German privacy laws, then followed her inside the building and tried to kiss her, Moeller-Scheu said.
The girl’s mother reported the incident to police the next day but did not know who the suspect was. About a week later, on July 2, the girl spotted the man on the street, Moeller-Scheu said.
“The child saw him, she said ‘that’s him,’ and then the woman called police,” Moeller-Scheu said, adding that the woman sought to draw attention to the man by pointing him out to others and yelling “child molester.”
The man was taken into custody but released after claiming diplomatic immunity, Moeller-Scheu said.
In addition to trying to determine the facts of the case, Moeller-Scheu said her office is also checking to see whether diplomatic immunity can be invoked in such a case.
Iran’s press spokesman at the country’s embassy in Berlin did not answer several phone calls, and did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.
But Iranian state-run Press TV on Sunday quoted Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hasan Qashqavi as saying that the mass-selling tabloid Bild and the People’s Mujahideen, an opposition group outlawed in Iran, were behind a “fabricated scenario” to discredit the diplomat by accusing him of molesting a girl in Frankfurt.
A Paris-based spokesman for the opposition group, Shahin Gobadi, rejected the official’s allegation as “preposterous and baseless,” calling it a “desperate attempt to whitewash the wicked conduct of Tehran’s diplomat.”
Iran also said it summoned the German ambassador to Tehran, Bernd Erbel, a week ago to protest the confrontation. Tehran said the diplomat was attacked by a woman while he was returning home from work.
A German Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said the ambassador met officials at the foreign ministry in Tehran, describing the encounter as part of regular talks. The spokeswoman, who declined to be named in line with German government policy, declined to discuss the content of the meeting or the allegations against the Iranian diplomat.
In April, Brazilian families complained that an Iranian diplomat fondled four girls between ages of 9 and 15 at a public swimming pool in the capital, Brasilia. Police questioned the man, whom they would not identify, but no charges were filed because of diplomatic immunity.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry dismissed the allegations as unfounded but the diplomat was sent back to Iran.
Associated Press correspondent Bradley Brooks contributed to this report from Sao Paulo, Brazil.