Iranian FM detained in Nicosia, report says

Iranian FM detained in Nicosia, report says

NICOSIA - Anatolia News Agency
Iranian FM detained in Nicosia, report says

Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Ali Akbar Salehi addresses to media after his meeting with Cyprus President Demetris Christofias at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia, Cyprus, 26 June 2012. EPA/KATIA CHRISTODOULOU

Greek Cypriot authorities reportedly detained Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi briefly after he arrived at Nicosia International Airport, Anatolia news agency has reported.

Salehi, who is visiting Greek Cyprus on the invitation of his Greek Cypriot counterpart, was detained by authorities in the airport on charges of being on the European Union’s list of “unwanted persons,” Anatolia quoted Greek Cypriot media reports. The airport’s anti-terrorism office later released the minister after Greek Cyprus’ Foreign Ministry and foreign minister became involved in the issue.

Reports 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 had been blacklisted by the EU and could only enter the country after receiving special permission from the Greek Cypriot foreign minister.

The media also reported that Greek Cyprus had offered an official apology to Iran, citing a “misunderstanding” and “mishandling” of the situation by airport authorities.