May 21, 2009
Frattini cancels Iran visit
Italy’s foreign minister Franco Frattini canceled a trip to Iran for talks on regional security issues. Though the Foreign Ministry statement made no mention of Iran’s test Wednesday of a missile capable of reaching Israel and U.S. Mideast bases, it is practically certain that Frattini’s decision was provoked by the missile test itself. Officially the Foreign Ministry said the decision—which followed a postponement in March—was motivated by the fact that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wanted to meet Frattini, who had been scheduled to depart Wednesday, in the city of Semnan instead of in Tehran. But Semnam is precisely where the Iranian president had just announced the successful launch of the medium-range missile. According to diplomats, Frattini had also been warned that Ahmadinejad would try to exploit his visit for his election campaign. One more reason why the decision is to be welcomed.