BERLIN – Cyprus authorities detained Iran’s foreign minister at the Larnaca Airport because his name appeared on an EU sanctions list barring Iranians who are involved in the country’s nuclear program.

The Cyprus Mail daily reported on Thursday that Ali Akbar Salehi was held up for a “few minutes” and stayed in a VIP room at the airport.

The EU had previously placed Salehi on its sanctions list barring travel to Europe because he was the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEIO) from July 2009 to December 2010.

The EU waived this designation once he became foreign minister.

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According to the Cyprus Mail, “[Cyprus’s] Justice Minister Loucas Louca said for some reason this information was not passed on to the airport police by the Foreign Ministry, leading to a small delay of ‘two, three minutes’ before Salehi was given the go-ahead to enter the country.”

Louca said this was due to a “miscommunication” between the police and the Foreign Ministry.

According to the paper, “The incident or ‘non-incident,’ depending on your perspective, does raise questions as to how the minister’s name had managed to stay on the list despite him leaving his post at the AEIO some time ago – especially when taking into consideration that the stop list is updated regularly, with the more recent lifting of sanctions against Myanmar a case in point.”

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