Dr. Ali Asghar Soltanieh
Photo: AP

Musical Chairs: Iranian diplomat sits in Israel's IAEA seat

Foreign Policy columnist obtains rare photo depicting Tehran's IAEA envoy sitting in Israeli envoy's seat at nuclear watchdog's latest meeting

WASHINGTON – The Islamic Republic of Iran does not recognize Israel in any way, referring to it at best as "that Zionist entity," but sometimes, even Iranian diplomats simply must sit down.


Washington Post and Foreign Policy columnist Colum Lynch, who pens the "Turtle Bay" blog on the ongoings of the UN, was able to obtain a unique photo to that effect.


The photo shows Dr. Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) seating at the Israeli delegation's desk at the nuclear watchdog's meeting in September.


"לפעמים צריך מקום לשבת". הדיווח על התמונה

Soltanieh, taking a load off (Screenshot)


Soltanieh and two other Iranian officials are seen engaged in a discussion with a member of the delegation of Ireland, which currently presides over the IAEA. 


The UN's nuclear watchdog meetings have been the proverbial battleground between Iran and Israel – and the West – over the former's nuclear program, which the West believes is of a military nature.


Tehran forbids its diplomats to acknowledge Israel in any way and they are barred from mentioning it by name, let alone speak to any Israeli delegate at the United Nations, making Soltanieh's faux pas even more embarrassing for Iran.


"It's hard to imagine how the top Iranian diplomat, after serving more than six years as Tehran's envoy to the atomic agency, wound up in the Israeli seat without an alarm bell going off in his head," Lynch writes. "You'd think there was a protocol office within the Iranian foreign mission responsible for avoiding such a diplomatic faux pas. If not, maybe there will be from now on."






פרסום ראשון: 10.07.11, 09:43
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