Austrian president criticised for Iran visit

Vienna, Sep 8 (IANS) After meeting his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani in Tehran, Austrian President Heinz Fischer has said he expects growing trade with Iran — but has faced criticism for his visit, the media reported on Tuesday.

Stop the Bomb, an Austrian organisation that opposes the Iranian government, has slammed Fischer for travelling to Iran.

It criticised his planned meeting with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei — a rare event for a visiting non-Muslim dignitary, The Local reported.

Ariel Muzicant, vice president of the European Jewish Congress, also criticised the visit, saying Austria’s political leadership and business elite would “shake hands with murderers”.

Fischer’s three-day visit beginning Monday follows the signing of a landmark deal between Iran and world powers on its disputed nuclear programme.

He is accompanied by a 240-person delegation of business executives, from Austrian companies including Andritz, OMV, Lenzing, Raiffeisen and Erste Bank.

Fischer became the first European head of state to visit Iran since 2004.

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