Iran warns Belgium of ‘malicious’ bid to destroy relations

2023-06-29 18:02:06
Iran warns Belgium of ‘malicious’ bid to destroy relations

Iran says the recent exchange of Belgian and Iranian detainees was "a sign of successful diplomacy" between Tehran and Brussels, warning of “malicious” efforts to destroy ties between the two countries.

Speaking to Press TV on Thursday, an informed source in the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said “ridiculous claims published in certain sections of the Belgian media”, saying they are being instigated by “malicious known currents to destroy relations between Iran and Belgium”.

“We hope that Belgian authorities will not fall into the trap of such false scenarios,” the source said.

A visit by Tehran’s mayor Alireza Zakani to Brussels at the invitation of Belgian authorities was met by a cacophony of acerbic comments from some politicians and media in the country.

They pounced on the visit to question its timing which came after Iran released Belgian national Olivier Vandecasteele who had served more than a year of his prison sentence for security violations.

Pascal Smet, the secretary of state for European and international relations for the city council of Brussels, defended the invitation, explaining that the mayor of Tehran visited the city on a visa issued by the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“The Brussels Urban Summit is a major international conference” Smet said, adding “Tehran is a member of this global network and was invited by Metropolis in this capacity. Brussels is a diplomatic capital.”

Meanwhile, the Belgian foreign ministry confirmed that the Belgian embassy in Iran had issued a visa for Zakani at the insistence of the Brussels municipality.

Smet later resigned under pressure, but he insisted that he "didn't commit a personal error."

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