The official Iranian news agency, IRNA, reported: "The Zionist regime published a blatant lie in order to distract global attention from its crimes in Gaza last year." However, there was no official Iranian response to the meeting captured on camera between the Israeli minister and the Iranian official manning his country's booth at the fair.
Misezhnikov (R) with Iranian booth operator (Photo: Amnon Liberman)
According to the Iranian claim, "the Israeli lie" was published while the journalists and media photographers were still attending the opening ceremony of the Fiture International Tourism Trade Fair in Madrid, Spain. "They completely ignored this fact," the Iranian report wrote.
A reporter for the Iranian news agency stationed in Madrid wrote that "at no point during the opening ceremony" did Misezhnikov and his Iranian colleague even stand next to one another.
However, Tehran's denials did not refer to the reception of the King of Spain and his wife. As was first published in Ynet, the Israeli and the Iranian met during the reception and not during the opening ceremony.
Misezhnikov shook Baghaei's hand and said to him, "We are both from the same region, and tourism can be a bridge to peace. The people in Israel see the people in Iran as a friend, but it is important that the Iranian president stop the wild incitement against Israel and bring Iran back into the family of nations."
Prior to this, the Israeli minister visited the Iranian booth at the fair and received a surprising invitation. "We have wonderful nature reserves and cultural sites; you are welcome to come and visit."
Misezhnikov responded, "I believe the day will come when an Israeli minister, as well as Israeli citizens, will be able to visit and enjoy Iran."