Fri, 21 Feb 2020

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will skip the World Economic Forum which kicks off in the Swiss resort of Davos on January 21, Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Musavi told a news conference on January 20.

The annual gathering has been overshadowed by escalating tensions between Iran and the United States. U.S. President Donald Trump is scheduled to attend the summit.

Zarif had been scheduled to attend the four-day gathering after receiving a personal invitation, Musavi said.

'They changed the original program they had for him, the program that had been agreed upon, and came up with something else,' Musavi said.

'Either way, this trip unfortunately will not happen,' he told a news conference in Tehran.

Trump is scheduled to depart late on January 20 for Davos.

Tensions between Iran and the United States have worsened since 2018 when Trump withdrew from a landmark nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

The two countries appeared to be on the brink of war after a U.S. drone strike killed one of Iran's top military commanders, Qasem Soleimani, on January 3.

On January 8, Iran fired missiles at U.S. troops stationed in neighboring Iraq.

Hours later, Iran's armed forces shot down a Ukrainian airliner, killing all 176 people on board, in what Iran said was an accident.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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