Ali Akbar Salehi_311 reuters.
(photo credit: Khaled Al Hariri / Reuters)
BERLIN - Austrian Foreign Minister Michael
Spindelegger's decision to meet with sanctioned Iranian Foreign Minister Ali
Akbar Salehi on Tuesday triggered criticism from the Austrian Green
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While the EU lifted its prohibition against Salehi to allow him to
travel, he has been placed on the EU sanction list because of his work on Iran's
illicit uranium enrichment program. According to Austrian media reports, the US
and the EU agreed to allow Salehi to travel to Vienna.
he wants to maintain "open channels of communication" with Iran, saying human
rights in Iran and the country's nuclear program are topics of discussion. After
the meeting, the Austrian Foreign Ministry expressed disappointment with the
talks with Iran.
Marco Schreuder, a Green Party representative, slammed
the meeting between Salehi and Spindelegger. His party has distanced itself from
the decision to give Salehi a diplomatic platform.
Schreuder said in a
statement that "the representative of a regime [Iran] that persecutes and
murders homosexuals and brutally represses women... and denies the Holocaust and
threatens Israel with destruction must face clear opposition when the
representative appears in Vienna." Karl Pfeifer, a Vienna-based expert in
Austrian-Israeli relations, told The Jerusalem Post
on Wednesday that it was "a
meeting without results. Austria gave the bloody dictatorship the
present itself as a reasonable peace-loving country." "However," he
continued, "the press conference reminded me rather of a Syrian press
journalists had to stand up and only four Austrian journalists were
ask a question one was representing APA, the official press agency,
one ORF TV
and one ORF Radio. Christian Ultsch from Die Presse was the fourth one
to ask a
question about repression in Syria. Salehi said some strange elements
present in Syria and of course Assad started some reforms and spoke
about the principle of non-intervention.The whole press conference was a
exercise in futility."