Report: Iran’s Salehi briefly detained in Greek Cyprus

Report: Iran’s Salehi briefly detained in Greek Cyprus

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi (Photo: Reuters)

June 27, 2012, Wednesday/ 17:33:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Greek Cypriot authorities reportedly briefly detained the Iranian foreign minister after he arrived in Nicosia International airport, a news report claimed.

Quoting Greek Cypriot media, TRT Türk reported that Ali Akbar Salehi, who is visiting Greek Cyprus upon the invitation of his Greek Cypriot counterpart, was arrested by authorities in the airport on charges of being on the European Union's list of “unwanted persons.” The airport's anti-terrorism office later released the Iranian foreign minister after Greek Cyprus' Foreign Ministry and foreign minister became involved in the issue.

Reports also said the scandal caused temporary tension, but that the mistake was fixed after Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozaku Markulli demanded the release of his Iranian counterpart.

Greek Cypriot media outlets noted that the Iranian minister, who was also the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Agency, had been blacklisted by the EU and could only enter the country after receiving special permission from the Greek Cypriot foreign minister.

Markulli reportedly told airport authorities that Salehi's name was taken off the “unwanted persons” list in 2010 after he was appointed Iran's foreign minister. The media also reported that Greek Cyprus has offered an official apology to Iran, citing a “misunderstanding” and “mishandling” of the situation by airport authorities.

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