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Iran’s President Raisi Snubbed On Delegation To Pakistan

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During Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi’s visit to Islamabad, he has been snubbed by high ranking officials, met only by military leaders and a minister for housing, his critics say.

While the Pakistani prime minister invited Raisi to Islamabad, he was not there to greet him on Monday. The Iranian government’s official website posted images of Raisi’s arrival at Nur Khan Airbase and the only official from Pakistan receiving Raisi was named Riaz Hussain Pirzada, federal minister for housing and works.

Critics of the current government such as Abdolreza Davari, one of ex-President Ahmadinejad’s confidants, drew a stark comparison between this incident and the reception of ex-president Hassan Rouhani in 2016 when Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif greeted him at Nur Khan Airbase.
The conservative website Khabar Online slammed the imbalance of power and said “this level of reception does not reflect the level of the visit” of the embarrassing reception.

This is not the first time Raisi’s international trips have been in the spotlight. In January 2022, neither Putin nor any senior Russian official escorted President Ebrahim Raisi upon his departure from Moscow. During the same trip, the long distance between the two presidents during their discussions was also a trending topic on social media.

Ebrahim Raisi’s picture at a table with champagne at a meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organization leaders sparked controversy in September 2022.

Nevertheless, the controversy extends beyond Raisi. Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Raisi’s foreign minister, was filmed waiting in his car at the Russian Foreign Ministry to be formally welcomed by Sergey Lavrov last March. While the Russian top diplomat did not leave the building when Amir-Abdollahian entered, Lavrov asked him, “Didn’t you want to get out of the car,” and the Iranian foreign minister said, “I was waiting.” Lavrov asked what he was waiting for, to which the Iranian foreign minister mumbled and refused to reply.

Lavrov’s reaction angered government voices in Iran. Cleric Rahmatollah Bigdeli said on Twitter, “This much disrespect to the authorities of a country by Russian officials is shameful!”

Iran’s Raisi’s visit follows a period of tension between the two countries. Pakistan conducted airstrikes three months ago following attacks by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards within Pakistani territory. According to both countries, their strikes aimed at “terrorist hideouts” ended up killing civilians, including women and children.

The Iranian government claimed that its operation targeted the Jaish al-Adl Sunni militant group, while the Pakistani government said it targeted insurgents generally known as “Sarmachar.”