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Iran Parliament Speaker Snubs German Economy Minister

Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani (file photo)

The speaker of the Iranian parliament, Ali Larijani, has called off a meeting with visiting German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel during his high-profile visit to Iran.

Gabriel was due to meet Larijani on October 4 in Tehran, where he had travelled alongside a delegation of business leaders keen to reestablish ties with the country after the lifting of international sanctions.

But Larijani called off the meeting at the last minute without giving an explanation, a spokesman for Gabriel's delegation said.

The move comes after the minister spoke out for the reforms pursued by Iranian President Hassan Rohani, saying, "The alternative to the current government is a return to the times of great confrontation."

He also warned that Tehran must accept Israel's right to exist to normalize relations.

Iran's Foreign Ministry rejected the comments, saying no precondition to normalized relations would be acceptable.

Based on reporting by dpa and Reuters