Iran denies Cypriot parliamentary speaker attacked
TEHRAN, May 18 (AFP) - Iran on Tuesday denied newspaper reports that
Cypriot parliament speaker Sypros Kyprianou had been the target of a bomb
attack in Tehran.
"Based on (our) investigations, such reports are totally unfounded,"
the official news agency IRNA quoted an unidentified Iranian foreign ministry
official as saying.
The Iranian newspaper Jomhuri Islami reported Tuesday that a bomb had
exploded as Kyprianou entered the Cypriot embassy here, causing damage
but no casualties.
It said several people had been arrested, and one had allegedly admitted
having "links with the Turkish secret services."
The director general of the Cypriot foreign ministry, Andreas Pirishis
told AFP in Nicosia however that the incident, which he said occurred on
Sunday, had nothing to do with Kyprianou.
"Three or four individuals tried unsuccessfully to enter the premises
of the residence of the Cypriot ambassador to Tehran," he said.
"They attacked the guard, and before fleeing threw an object that
could have been a bomb, but which did not explode. It is up to the police
to discover what kind of thing it was."
He said the ambassador, who was at the airport meeting Kyprianou at
the time of the attack, had received anonymous threats a few days previously,
along with a demand for 300,000 dollars.
The ambassador informed the police at the time, and protection of his
residence had been stepped up, Pirishis said.
Kyprianou, 67, who served as Cyprus president from 1977-88, arrived
here late Sunday for a visit of several days.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded its northern
third following a Greek-Cypriot coup in Nicosia seeking union with Athens.
Ankara, which is the sole government to recognize a breakaway Turkish
Republic of North Cyprus, maintains 35,000 troops on the eastern Mediterranean
Relations between Iran and Turkey have been strained recently over
the affair of a newly elected Turkish member of parliament, Merve Kavakci,
who was prevented from taking the oath of office because she insisted on
wearing her Islamic headscarf.
There have been a number of demonstrations in Iran in support of Kavakci.