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By ESPN Staff

Germany issues visa to one of Iran's vice presidents

BERLIN (AP) -- The German government will let one of Iran's vice presidents attend the World Cup, though the leader is not representing his nation's polarizing president.

Germany's Foreign Ministry said Wednesday it has granted a visa to Mohammed Aliabadi, 50, one of seven Iranian vice presidents and the head of the state's physical education organization.

Aliabadi is attending the World Cup to watch Iran play and is not representing hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a spokesman for his organization in Tehran said.

Ahmadinejad has indicated he may try to visit the national team during the World Cup -- a visit that would create a security headache for both the German government and tournament organizers.

Exiles opposed to the controversial Iranian leader could protest while Germany's far-right activists have said they would demonstrate in support of Ahmadinejad, who sparked international outrage when he questioned the Holocaust and Israel's right to exist.

Aliabadi is expected to arrive Thursday, a day before the tournament begins and three days before Iran's opening match against Mexico.