Iran Thursday ordered the expulsion of a Swiss diplomat, apparently on spying charges, a likely tit-for-tat move viewed as another setback for Iranian moderates seeking to repair tattered relations with the West.
Jacob Schranz, the Tehran consul of Switzerland, was declared persona non grata and asked to leave the country within a week, said Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency, monitored in Manama. The action came one day after the ordered ouster of Tehran's consul general in Geneva for alleged spying.Switzerland, a neutral state, has represented U.S. interests in Iran since fundamentalists seized the U.S. Embassy and took hostages 10 years ago, prompting Washington to break ties with Iran.
No specific reason was given for Schranz's expulsion, although Iranian opposition sources said the move demonstrated the continuing hard-line policy prevailing in Iran against contacts with the West.
Swiss Ambassador in Tehran, Heinrich Reiman, was summoned to the foreign ministry Thursday and told Schranz was being expelled for "activities inconsistent with diplomatic norms."