Ali Akbar Salehi

Iran and Cyprus have denied the recent report about the brief arrest of Iranian foreign minister in the Cypriot airport.

Yesterday news of Ali Akbar Salehi’s brief arrest in Cyprus by Lakarna airport’s anti-terrorist unit turned into a media scandal.

Greek media reported that since Salehi’a name was in the older EU blacklists, he was held for a brief time in the airport and later released through intervention of the Cypriot foreign ministry.

Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran’s current foreign minister, used to be head of Iran’s Atomic Agency and due to nuclear disputes between Iran and the EU at the time, he was not allowed to travel in any of the EU member countries. However since 2010, when he became the foreign minister these restrictions have been lifted.

Salehi had travelled to Cyprus on the invitation of the Cypriot government to meet with the country’s officials and reports indicate that EU sanctions on Iran were one of the top items on their agenda.

Iranian MPs have spoken out against the incident and once even described it as “the greatest disrespect to Islamic Republic diplomatic dignity.”

Today Iran’s spokesman for the foreign ministry announced that the news of the foreign minister’s arrest are rumours and that the Iranian foreign minister had been welcomed with the highest of respect and held constructive discussions about expanding mutual relations with Cyprus.

Cyprus has also denied the news of Salehi’s arrest and a spokesman for the Cypriot government told the British daily Guardian that any news of Ali Akbar Salehi’s arrest in Cyprus is false.