Weimar, 12 July 2000 (RFE/RL) -- Iranian President Mohammed Khatami
ends a three-day visit to Germany today with a trip to the eastern city of
Weimar. Khatami is to meet with German President Johannes Rau and unveil a
monument to the Persian national poet Hafez and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe,
Germany's national poet, dramatist and novelist.
Weimar is Goethe's hometown. Goethe's fascination with Islamic culture
led to a collection of poems, West-Eastern Divan, published in the early
19th century. The collection includes a section dedicated to the 14th
century poet Hafez.
Khatami and Rau also are to take part in a discussion titled, A Dialogue
of Civilizations. Iran's president returns to Tehran later today.
Yesterday, Khatami addressed business leaders in Berlin in a bid to
improve Iran's trade with Germany, and German investment in Iran. He met
also with the leader of Germany's largest opposition party, the Christian
Democratic Union. A party spokesman says that the CDU's Angela Merkel and
Khatami discussed, among other things, the situation of women and human
rights in Iran.
German Jewish leaders and about 100 protestors called on Khatami to
release 10 Jews convicted in Iran of spying for Israel. German officials
said Chancellor Schroeder also brought up the subject. Khatami's activities
in Berlin, however, concentrated on economic matters.
At the beginning of the Iranian president's visit Monday, German
Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said that Germany wants a new start in
economic and cultural relations with Iran.