Iranian President Hassan Rouhani unexpectedly canceled a state visit to Austria this week, citing security reasons, according to a statement by the Austrian Presidency. Iran said the decision about the trip, scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, was mutual.
Rouhani had been scheduled to meet Austrian President Heinz Fischer and other Austrian leaders, in only his second visit to Europe, after visiting Rome and Paris in January. Fischer said he regretted the cancellation.
“Every nation has to decide for itself about the safety and security of its head of state,” Fischer said in a statement. “The quality of the relations with Iran won’t be touched by this delay and the cooperation in the realm of politics, business, culture and science will be continued in a comprehensive manner.”
Austria’s interior ministry had “no concrete signs of a security threat” and the preparation for Rouhani’s visit had been “completely ordinary and routine,” spokesman Karl-Heinz Grundboeck told the Austrian Press Agency. Even after recent terror attacks in Brussels, there is “no concrete threat situation” in Austria, he said.
Iran’s state-run news agencies and state-run TV didn’t mention security concerns. The visit was postponed “based on mutual agreement in order to allow better planning and coordination from both sides,” official news agency IRNA reported.
The postponement appeared to catch Iranian media by surprise as most had prepared special sections detailing trade links between the two nations.
Neither country provided a new date for the visit.