Iran’s Zarif cancels visit to Vienna over Israeli flag row

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif scrapped his previously scheduled visit to Austria on Saturday in protest against Vienna’s open support for Israeli aggression on Palestine.

Zarif, who is presently on a European tour, was expected to arrive in Vienna on Saturday from Madrid, but there was a last-minute change in his itinerary.

Informed sources in Tehran and media reports suggested that the visit was canceled after Israeli flags were hoisted on important government buildings in the Austrian capital, including the Chancellery and Foreign Ministry.

Austria’s Foreign Ministry spokesman confirmed on Saturday that Zarif would not be visiting Vienna for a planned meeting with his Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg.

The hoisting of Israeli flags by the Austrian government was seen as a mark of solidarity with its ally Tel Aviv, a move denounced by many Muslim countries.

Vienna has been for the past several weeks hosting negotiations between Iran and the world powers aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal.

Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Abbas Araghchi on Friday also took strong umbrage to Vienna’s support for Israeli war crimes in the occupied territories of Palestine.

He called the move “shocking and painful” while reaffirming his country’s support to Palestine.

“Vienna is the seat of IAEA & UN, and Austria so far been a great host for negotiations,” Araqchi wrote on Twitter. “Shocking and painful to see flag of the occupying regime, that brutally killed tens of innocent civilians, including many children in just few days, over govt offices in Vienna. We stand with Palestine.”

Earlier, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz had offered sympathy to the Israeli regime and ordered the hoisting of Israeli flag over government offices in Vienna.

It came after pro-Palestine solidarity rallies were organized in the capital city to protest Israeli regime’s continued aggression against Palestinians, bombing of civilian areas and indiscriminate killing of civilians, including children.

The latest Israeli aggression on Palestine has been widely condemned across the Muslim world.

Iranian officials, including Zarif, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani, Parliament Speaker Baqer Qalibaf, and judiciary chief Ebrahim Raeesi have issued statements in recent days denouncing Israeli regime’s atrocities.

Source: Anadolu Agency