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Diplomatic incident over a handshake

Published on 01/07/2005

1 July 2005

BRUSSELS — A refusal to shake a woman’s hand led to a diplomatic incident between Belgium and Iran on Thursday.

Visiting representatives of the Iranian Islamic Consultative Assembly refused to shake hands with Senate speaker Anne-Marie Lizin.

In response, Lizin cancelled a planned meeting between the Iranian parliamentary delegation and Belgian senators, Flemish broadcaster VRT reported.

Lizin said the Iranian delegation should adhere to Belgium’s national customs while visiting Belgium. She pointed out a Belgian delegation followed Iranian customs when it recently visited the Middle Eastern country.

The Iranian delegation did, however, meet with the speaker of the Belgian Lower House, Herman de Croo.

But this meeting did not pass of without incident either when the Iranians refused lunch because alcohol was being served. The lunch was eventually cancelled.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news