(photo credit: REUTERS)
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
The EU waived this designation once he became foreign
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
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.”