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Saudi diplomat barred from leaving Iran

Riyadh rejects allegation of drink driving when fatal accident took place

Gulf News

Dubai: Iran has notified the Saudi mission in Tehran that an allegedly drunk Saudi diplomat who caused a fatal car accident in March would be banned from leaving the country.

Chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaeddin Boroujerdi announced on Sunday that the “drunk Saudi diplomat has been banned from leaving the country”, according to Iran’s Fars news agency.

The diplomat is alleged to have been found by police to have been under the influence of alcohol when he caused the death of an Iranian citizen in mid-March after ramming his car into another passenger vehicle while driving at a speed of at 130km/h.

Alcoholic beverage was also alleged to have been found in the diplomat’s car.

The Iranian foreign ministry had “strongly” protested the incident to the Saudi embassy in Tehran at the time. The Saudi foreign ministry at the time rejected the allegation that the diplomat had been under the influence of alcohol. Saudi ambassador Osama Naqli said it was “a regular and unfortunate traffic accident”, according to the Saudi press.

A source in the Saudi embassy in Tehran told the Al Youm newspaper that the diplomat has been assigned a lawyer, describing the travel ban as a “natural” procedure in line with international norms.

Last month, rapporteur of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Syed Hussain Naqavi Hussaini said the diplomat should be punished irrespective of diplomatic immunity. Diplomatic immunity, he said, did not cover violation of traffic laws.

Davatgari said the diplomat, whose vehicle’s insurance had expired, might have been returning from a party, according to Fars.

The diplomat was appointed to the consular section of the Saudi Embassy in January 2011, according to Iranian media.