Britain's Prince Charles became the first member of a British royal family to visit Iran in 33 years, traveling to the site of a December earthquake a day after he met with soldiers in the southern Iraqi city of Basra.
Given the strained ties between Tehran and London since Iran's 1979 revolution, the visit had many Iranians wondering what the trip could mean, though the British Embassy asserted that it was a "nonpolitical visit".
"The prince is a patron of the British Red Cross and is visiting Iran in that role. It's an official but completely a nonpolitical visit," said Andrew Dunn, First Secretary at the British Embassy in Tehran.
Dunn said Charles is expected to meet President Mohammad Khatami Monday morning before flying to Bam later in the day.
"Iran and the UK are on a much better footing now than they have been in the past, but this is not a political visit in any way," a spokesman for Clarence House, Charles' official residence, told Britain's Press Association.
The prince is accompanied by a small entourage that includes the head of the British Red Cross, Sir Nicholas Young. Dunn said Charles and Young will assess how the British Red Cross can help the survivors of the recent Bam quake and try to resume agricultural life in the area. (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )