The Greek Foreign Ministry confirmed on Saturday that Iran has lodged a formal diplomatic complaint, or démarche, against Athens over Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ support for the US’ killing of General Qasem Soleimani last week.
Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias confirmed that Tehran had formally lodged a démarche, protesting Greece’s stance on the killing, but he declined to reveal its content.
He also sought to play down the incident, saying that Iran “understands what the broader Greek position is and we understand why Iran wants in this context to raise the issue.”
He added that his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, had also asked to speak with to him, adding “I would be glad to hear what he has to tell me.” By the time of writing it is not known whether the telephone call between the ministers had actually taken place.
Tehran is upset by the comments made by Mitsotakis last Tuesday during his official visit to Washington. Speaking at the Atlantic Council, the Greek Prime Minister expressed Athens’s support for the US in executing Soleimani.
Mitsotakis had stated:
“First we are allies with the US. We stand by our allies in difficult times. I understand that this decision was taken in the light of the US national interest and we support that decision. At the same time, we must be fully aware that there are widespread concerns about a possible escalation, and I think efforts must be made now that the US has given a clear signal about the red lines they are willing to draw in order to move towards an initiative that would lessen the tension. And I hope this message is received by everyone. Yes, we have and still have very close ties to the Arab world and consider ourselves honest players in the region, but we do not forget who our allies are and where we belong geopolitically.”
Mitsotakis also came under fire by Greece parties for his statement. Main opposition SYRIZA party noted that Mitsotakis “clearly stated that he supports U.S. actions in relation to the execution of the Iranian general in Iraq, becoming the only European leader to make such a move.”
In this way, SYRIZA added, “he puts the country at risk for no reason.”
Meanwhile, in a letter to Greek daily newspaper Kathimerini, the Iranian Embassy in Athens warned Greece that if it allows the use of US military bases in Greece in any possible aggression against Iran it will be considered as a “hostile act” to which it will respond “in a clear and decisive manner.”
“The Islamic Republic of Iran has made it very clear that in the event of a US-led war against the country, the concession of (military) bases by any country to the American invader will be considered a hostile act and Iran reserves the right to respond in a clear and decisive manner,” the letter says.