The head of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, is denying earlier reports that Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has been summoned to Parliament by his commission for having met with William Hague, his British counterpart.
Hossein Naghavi, a member of the parliamentary commission, had announced on Friday: “We have not been informed of the meeting that was carried out on the sidelines of the Afghanistan summit; therefore, our commission will examine this issue by inviting Ali Akbar Salehi to clarify why such a meeting took place.”
IRNA reported today, however, that Boroujerdi has completely denied that Salehi was summoned to Parliament and he accused the media of spreading rumours.
Last week, on the sidelines of the Heart of Asia summit regarding the security and future of Afghanistan, Salehi met with British Foreign Minister William Hague.
There is some dispute over who initiated the meeting; however, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast reported: “In this meeting, talks were held about protecting the interests of the two countries as well as some issues about developments in the region. We feel Western countries are involved in these developments and their involvement is destructive. We expressed our views in this regard.”
The British Foreign Ministry website reports that the meeting took place at the behest of the Iranian Foreign Minister, while Mehmanparast said that the meeting was called by the British side.
The meeting was frowned upon by several media outlets, with some writing: “Mr. Salehi meets with Hague at a time when, as a result of the bullying, plotting and malice of the British government against our country, diplomatic relations between the Islamic Republic and this government have been severed since last year.”
Last year, after Britain announced its decision to impose sanctions on the Iranian Central Bank, demonstrations in front of the British Embassy led to a swarming of the embassy by some of the demonstrators, and a similar attack was made on a compound in northern Tehran where British diplomats resided.
The incident led to the severing of diplomatic relations between the two countries and the closure of their respective embassies.
Prior to the incident, Iranian Parliament had already voted to downgrade diplomatic relations with Britain to the level of charge d’affaires, which meant that the British Ambassador was to be expelled from Tehran.
The attack on the embassy was condemned by the Islamic Republic Foreign Ministry, and assurances were given that the perpetrators would be prosecuted.