Paris, 28 November 2011

In a letter to German Federal Commissioner for Culture and the Media, Minister of State Bernd Neumann, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, expressed concern in regard to the Schloss Neuhardenberg Foundation, "a magnificent mansion property purchased by the Association of German Savings Banks as, according to its website, 'an ideal location for international gatherings that deal with artistic, political and scientific questions and problems of our time'".

The Centre had learned that Neumann shared membership of the Foundation's Board of Trustees with the Acting Deputy Foreign Minister of Iran, Mostafa Dolatyar. 

The NGO 'Stop the Bomb' exposed Dolatyar, citing his 2010 statement to Mehrnews Iranian News Agency "We hope that the prophecy of the Imam [Khomeiny] regarding the downfall of this regime [Israel] will occur very soon and that we will witness it". 

Samuels argued that "Dolatyar represents the patron of international terrorism, homophobia, the stoning of women, the execution of Bahais, a state policy of Holocaust denial and genocidal threats against the State of Israel", adding, "with Dolatyar on the Foundation's Board, there is an arguable conflict of interest. It is an unambiguous violation of German, EU and UN sanctions regimes on trade with Iran. Furthermore, it challenges the impartiality of the international programmes held on the Schloss Neuhardenberg's premises." 

The Centre called for "a Federal investigation into the activities of the Foundation and the divestiture of Dolatyar from its Board and membership." 

Samuels reminded the Minister of State of their discussion in 2008 on the Statute of Limitations of claims on Nazi-looted art, "commending his subsequent ruling to cancel all time limits." 

"In th at spirit, we urge you to immediately announce your personal resignation from the Board. Cultural fraternization with a declared antisemite, who is spokesman for a regime that threatens world peace is not fitting for contemporary Germany" concluded Samuels.