AFP: Iran’s foreign minister walked out of dinner attended by Condoleezza Rice claiming the dress of a Russian violinist who was also present was inappropriate, US officials said Friday. SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt, May 4, 2007 (AFP) – Iran’s foreign minister walked out of dinner attended by Condoleezza Rice claiming the dress of a Russian violinist who was also present was inappropriate, US officials said Friday.
But the officials argued the incident which took place Thursday night may have had more to do with Manouchehr Mottaki discovering “with consternation” that he had been seated right opposite the US secretary of state.
“I am not sure which woman he was afraid of: the woman in the red dress or the secretary of state,” said state department spokesman Sean McCormack.
Iranian officials did not immediately comment on the incident.
The dinner was organised by Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit on the sidelines of an international conference in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh aimed at stabilising war-torn Iraq.
On Thursday, Rice had a brief exchange with Mottaki at a foreign ministers’ lunch.
Speculation has mounted in recent days over possible talks between Rice and her Iranian counterpart, in what would be the highest-level bilateral discussions between the two countries since they broke off ties in 1980.
Despite Thursday’s brief encounter being void of political substance, it was believed to reflect a new willingness on the part of both Washington and Tehran to engage in some form of dialogue.