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Turkey: Iran FM Zarif postpones Turkey trip at last minute

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif postponed a visit to Turkey Tuesday, a Turkish official said, with mystery surrounding the reason for the last-minute cancellation. Zarif will instead head to Syria on Wednesday, his spokesperson said.

The visit on Tuesday had been expected to touch on the Syria crisis, which has caused profound disagreements between Tehran and Ankara. Iran remains one of the last allies of Turkey's arch foe, Syria's President Bashar al-Assad.

"There has been a change in the programme," the Turkish foreign ministry official said, without giving any reason. Zarif had been due to meet Turkey's leaders in the capital Ankara on Tuesday.

Iran’s ISNA news agency quoted an Iranian Foreign Ministry official as saying the postponement was down to a scheduling issue and that the trip would happen at a later date.

“This visit is on the agenda but will take place at a later date because the schedules didn’t line up in this timeframe,” the official said.

However, the postponement of the visit came as Turkish opposition daily Cumhuriyet unexpectedly published a page-long article by Zarif containing a possible criticism of Turkish foreign policy.

The newspaper is known to oppose the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) policies, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan repeatedly locking horns with its editor-in-chief, Can Dundar.

In the piece published Tuesday, Zarif criticised US policies in the Middle East, and blamed the emergence of extremist groups including the Islamic State (IS) group on the US-led war in Iraq in 2003.
He wrote that the IS group was fed by the chaos and instability after the Iraqi invasion.

Read more: france 24 - Iran FM Zarif postpones Turkey trip at last minute - France 24

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