Iranian minister cancels Austrian visit to Israeli flag
Iran’s foreign minister has canceled a visit with his Austrian counterpart to show his displeasure that Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s government has flown the Israeli flag in Vienna in solidarity, the Austrian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was supposed to meet Alexander Schallenberg but had canceled the trip, a Schallenberg spokeswoman said, confirming an article in Die Presse.
“We regret and take note of it, but for us it is as clear as the day that when Hamas fires more than 2,000 rockets at civilian targets in Israel, we will not remain silent,” the spokeswoman said. .
Hamas is the Islamist group that runs Gaza. Israel hit Gaza with airstrikes and Palestinian militants launched rocket barrages at Israel in the worst escalation of violence in years. Read more
In Tehran, Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told the semi-official ISNA news agency: “Mr. Zarif did not consider the trip beneficial under these circumstances, and therefore the preparations for the trip n ‘have not been finalized. “
The dispute comes during negotiations in Vienna to try to revive a 2015 deal with Western powers in which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in return for sanctions relief. Former US President Donald Trump abandoned the deal in 2018, prompting Iran to start violating its terms. Read more
Kurz, who is staunchly pro-Israel, on Friday called flying the Israeli flag above the Federal Chancellery as a mark of solidarity amid the fierce clashes. But Abbas Araqchi, who heads the Iranian delegation to the Vienna talks, criticized the move.
“Vienna is the seat (of nuclear oversight) of the IAEA and the UN, and (Austria) has so far been a great host for the negotiations,” Araqchi wrote on Twitter. “Shocking and painful to see the flag of the occupation regime, which brutally killed dozens of innocent civilians, including many children in just days, above government offices in Vienna. We stand alongside the Palestine.”
Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.