Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif did not travel to Europe this week, after it was reported that he would make several stops in the region, including visits to the UK, Germany and Spain.
The trip’s cancellation fueled speculation that Zarif had been disinvited by several European leaders after the Iranian government executed champion wrestler Navid Afkari for taking part in protests in 2018.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said world leaders had “taken an important first step and canceled Zarif’s visits” in a tweet he posted on Wednesday. Pompeo urged EU member states to hold back any meetings until Iran released Mr. Afkari’s brothers from prison and returned all wrongfully detained foreigners.
Newspapers in Germany also reported that Zarif’s trip to the country had been postponed due to the execution. Responding to the claims, an Iran Foreign Ministry Spokesman said the postponement was due to logistical problems arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Navid Afkari was executed on September 12, after receiving two death sentences in an Iranian court for taking part in protests. The execution has sparked global outrage, and has been strongly condemned by the EU.
Detained dual national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was denied medical treatment on Monday, after refusing to allow a member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps to sit in on her gynecological appointment.
Mrs. Zaghari-Ratcliffe was scheduled to attend court last Sunday on new charges which included “spreading propaganda against the regime,” when the hearing was canceled. No explanation for the delay was given and no new date for the trial has been set.
Mrs. Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband, Richard Ratcliffe, said the new charges were void as they were the same charges upon which Nazanin was convicted in 2016. The Islamic Republic has enacted a double jeopardy rule, which would make trying a person on identical charges illegal in the country.