An unwelcome guest

The Iran World Cup saga took another twist over the weekend when the German interior minister Wolfgang Schäuble said the government couldn’t stop Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from coming to Germany to cheer on his team. Cue outraged reaction from Germans, who aren’t too keen to welcome a Holocaust denier to their country. (Indeed, if ...

608914_ahmadinejad.thumbnail5.jpg
608914_ahmadinejad.thumbnail5.jpg

The Iran World Cup saga took another twist over the weekend when the German interior minister Wolfgang Schäuble said the government couldn’t stop Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from coming to Germany to cheer on his team. Cue outraged reaction from Germans, who aren’t too keen to welcome a Holocaust denier to their country. (Indeed, if it wasn’t for head of state immunity he would find himself in the dock under Germany’s strict laws on denying the Holocaust).

This diplomatic nightmare seems to have been avoided with a statement from the Iranian Foreign Ministry saying that “it’s not on his agenda.” Not everyone will be happy about his absence, though. German neo-Nazis will be gutted at missing the opportunity to cheer on their new hero in person.

The Iran World Cup saga took another twist over the weekend when the German interior minister Wolfgang Schäuble said the government couldn’t stop Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from coming to Germany to cheer on his team. Cue outraged reaction from Germans, who aren’t too keen to welcome a Holocaust denier to their country. (Indeed, if it wasn’t for head of state immunity he would find himself in the dock under Germany’s strict laws on denying the Holocaust).

This diplomatic nightmare seems to have been avoided with a statement from the Iranian Foreign Ministry saying that “it’s not on his agenda.” Not everyone will be happy about his absence, though. German neo-Nazis will be gutted at missing the opportunity to cheer on their new hero in person.

James Forsyth is assistant editor at Foreign Policy.

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.
An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.

Is Cold War Inevitable?

A new biography of George Kennan, the father of containment, raises questions about whether the old Cold War—and the emerging one with China—could have been avoided.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.

So You Want to Buy an Ambassadorship

The United States is the only Western government that routinely rewards mega-donors with top diplomatic posts.

Chinese President Xi jinping  toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Why Beijing’s foreign-policy reset will—or won’t—work out.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.

Turkey’s Problem Isn’t Sweden. It’s the United States.

Erdogan has focused on Stockholm’s stance toward Kurdish exile groups, but Ankara’s real demand is the end of U.S. support for Kurds in Syria.