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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 20 August 2018

Khamenei-linked cleric to head German Islamic centre

Mohammad Hadi Mofateh was controversially awarded a visa earlier this month

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaking during a meeting with officials of Iranian Foreign Ministry in Tehran, Iran, 21 July 2018. EPA/IRANIAN SUPREME LEADER OFFICE HANDOUT
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaking during a meeting with officials of Iranian Foreign Ministry in Tehran, Iran, 21 July 2018. EPA/IRANIAN SUPREME LEADER OFFICE HANDOUT

An Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) linked-cleric is to head one of Germany's largest Islamic centers, after being controversially awarded a visa this month.

Ayatollah Mohammad Hadi Mofateh was awarded a three-month visa by German authorities earlier this month, and will take charge of the Hamburg Islamic Centre, one of the oldest mosques in Germany.

German tabloid BILD reported that Mofateh had arrived in Germany in the past few days with his family, and was scheduled to take over management of the center in August. The manager of the center is considered one of Ayatollah Khamenei’s principle representatives in Europe.

A CV of Mofateh’s posted to the internet openly proclaims his affiliation to the IRGC, it also lists him having worked for Voice of the Islamic Republic, a state news channel the head of which is appointed directly by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

A number of figures heavily involved in the revolution of 1979 spent time in residence at the center whilst in opposition to the Shah, including Mohammad Khatami who served as President of the Islamic Republic until 2005.

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The revelations came as US Treasury officials revealed that Iran had been using German companies to acquire advanced printing equipment in order to print counterfeit currency that was being used to finance the group’s war-efforts in Yemen.

American officials said German companies “were being used as a cover by the Iranians to finance the world’s worst humanitarian conflict.”

The IRGC was outlawed as a terror organization by the United States in 2017, but Germany has refused to pass similar legislation.

In October 2007, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the IRGC had "played a pivotal role in making Iran the world's largest state terror sponsor".

The IRGC has played a major role in supporting Syrian President Bashar Al Assad in fighting opposition forces, and an increasing role supporting Houthis rebels in Yemen.

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