Australia’s trade minister may not be the only foreign dignitary visiting Iran this week, but he almost caught himself in a diplomatic faux pas.
It would have left Steve Ciobo being sent off in a car for a Syrian official in Tehran.
Mr Ciobo, on a two-day visit leading a business delegation to Iran, was about to head to the reopening of the government’s Austrade office a few kilometres away from his hotel on Wednesday.
He stepped into a black chauffeured car waiting outside only to find it was for a Syrian parliamentary speaker who was also in town.
According to a report by Courier Mail, as covered by Aftab, he sat in the car for a moment before realisation hit, later laughing off the incident to a crowd at the Austrade office relaunch.
His visit to Iran – the first for an Australian trade minister since 2002 – has caught locals somewhat by surprise in busy downtown Tehran.
Many driving past in the jam-packed traffic looked bemused at the police escort for the minister’s convoy as he zoomed around on official business, meeting Iranian government counterparts and leading a trade delegation.