NewsSpecial WireItaly turns down visit by Iranian official as Iran-Europe...

Italy turns down visit by Iranian official as Iran-Europe tensions rise

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Iran Focus: London, Jul. 25 – The Italian government has turned down an offer by Tehran to send the country’s Deputy Foreign Minister to Rome for an official visit, a website run by the entourage of ex-President Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani reported on Monday. Iran Focus

London, Jul. 25 – The Italian government has turned down an offer by Tehran to send the country’s Deputy Foreign Minister to Rome for an official visit, a website run by the entourage of ex-President Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani reported on Monday.

“The Europeans want to show that they are adopting a tougher posture against Iran, as shown by the way [Majlis Speaker”> Haddad Adel was treated in Brussels or Italy’s rejection of a visit by Deputy Foreign Minister [Gholam-Ali”> Khoshrou”, the website Hatef news wrote in a news analysis on the growing tensions between the Islamic Republic and the European Union following the election of radical Islamist Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president.

Tensions have been running high between Iran and several European nations in recent weeks. A diplomatic row broke out between Tehran and Berlin after the German Interior Minister raised questions about the new Iranian president’s ties to terrorism. Iran cancelled a high-level delegation’s visit to Rome after a prominent Italian cabinet minister called the presidential elections in Iran “a masquerade”. A visit by Iran’s Majlis Speaker to Belgium turned into a fiasco over heated disagreements on protocol.

Last week, the British Foreign Office summoned Iran’s ambassador to lodge a strong protest against public statements by a leading ayatollah and the Iranian Minister of Intelligence and Security, who said the Blair government had been behind the London bombings.

Finally, Tehran was shocked by a strong warning from French President Jacques Chirac that Iran’s nuclear file would be sent to the United Nations Security Council if it breaches its agreement.

“There is a lot of rethinking about relations with Iran in European capitals right now”, said Anthony Brown, a City consultant who monitors developments in Iran. “The British, the Dutch and many of the new EU members favour a tougher line on Iran, and Iran’s traditional ‘friends’, France and Germany, are not as firm in their positions as they once were”.

Many analysts see the outcome of the next round of nuclear talks in autumn as being a make-or-break point for Europe’s ties with the Islamic Republic.

“Come November, we’ll all know where things stand”, Brown said.

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