Iran Focus: Paris, Mar. 01 Irans Interior Minister invited his German counterpart to visit Tehran and called on the German minister to considering forging a partnership with Iran for the upcoming 2006 World Cup in Germany.
Paris, Mar. 01 Irans Interior Minister invited his German counterpart to visit Tehran and called on the German minister to considering forging a partnership with Iran for the upcoming 2006 World Cup in Germany.
Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi extended the invitation to Germany Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble while in Doha, Qatar, for a conference on Afghanistan.
Iran is even willing to cooperate closely with Germany on the World Cup competition, the radical Shiite cleric announced.
Hashem Javadi, a sports writer based in Tehran, told Iran Focus by telephone that the Iranian Interior Ministers comments reflected the growing anxiety in the government at the possible political fallout of the upcoming World Cup games.
Football is very much politicised in Iran, Javadi said. Ahmadinejad himself donned a training suit yesterday for a photo opportunity with members of the national squad. One thing officials here dont want is political trouble associated with the World Cup, which will be followed closely by almost every Iranian over the age of six.
Analysts suggested that a major concern for Iranian leaders could be a repeat of the 1998 World Cup game in Lyon, France. There, Iran beat the United States 2-1, but the score on the pitch was not the main highlight of the game. Thousands of Iranian dissidents dominated the game with their chants and slogans for freedom and democracy in Iran.
It was like a massive anti-mullah rally in a football stadium. Iranian TV had to broadcast its live transmission with a five minute delay to make sure that no shot of the stands would be seen by viewers back in Iran, said Homayoon Yahyavi, an Iranian engineer and a devoted football fan who lives in Paris and was in the stadium in Lyon for the 1998 match.
Yahyavi said the German government should impose a travel ban on Iranian officials during the World Cup tournament.
Iranian athletes who are sent for competitions abroad are kept on a very short leash by secret police officers who accompany them, Yahyavi said, adding that the Iranian Interior Ministers reachout to his German counterpart was aimed at getting Berlin to agree to Irans demands for a tight control over the team and special broadcasting arrangements.
There has been no word from the German government on Tehrans approach.