Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi says the country has lodged its strong protest with Georgia over the problems which some Iranian passengers faced at Tbilisi airport.
Qassemi’s reaction came in response to a question on the news that several Iranian passengers had their Islamic headscarves disrespected during security check for a flight from Tbilisi, Georgia, to Isfahan, Iran.
“After the release of a report by the Foreign Ministry’s representative office in Isfahan and after the authenticity of the report was confirmed through phone contacts by the Iranian ambassador to Georgia with a number of the passengers on board the flight, the Iranian embassy in Tbilisi expressed its strong protest at the Georgian Foreign Ministry and Tbilisi Airport security police,” said Qassemi.
He said Iran’s embassy in Tbilisi continues to follow up the issue at the Foreign Ministry’s Department General for Consular Affairs as well as the ministry’s Mission in Isfahan.
“Among the measures adopted were the Department General for Consular Affairs expressing its objection to the Georgian embassy in Tehran, the Iranian embassy in Tbilisi sending a note of protest to Georgia’s Foreign Ministry, and the Georgian ambassador to Tehran being asked to give explanation on the matter,” he said.
“Relevant Georgian authorities have also been asked to pursue the matter and prevent Iranian passengers from being subjected to such treatments again,” he said.
“Thanks to the measures adopted, we hope security police at Tbilisi will exercise utmost care concerning the necessity of respecting Muslim women’s privacy and keep such incidents from happening again,” he added.
This is not the first time Iran is criticizing Georgia over the Tbilisi airport’s mistreatment of Iranian women. Last year, an Iranian woman was forced by Tbilisi airport security forces to remove her hijab.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in April called on Georgian authorities to treat Iranian tourists with respect.
“Respecting Iranian tourists and treating Muslim women in general, and Iranian women in particular, with dignity is an absolute necessity for the growth of tourism industry in Georgia,” Zarif said in a meeting with Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili.
It came after it was reported that a Muslim Iranian woman visiting Georgia was forced to take off her hijab for frisking.
The Georgian prime minister, while expressing surprise, said he would look into the incident.
“I cannot imagine that Muslim women are offended in Georgia,” Kvirikashvili said at the time.