Then another member of the delegation added to the blaze of attention by telling a high-ranking official that Switzerland’s decision to apply sanctions against Tehran was wrong.
The delegation, which arrived in Iran on April 16th, included four MPs and two former MPs from the SVP on what was considered a private trip.
But Lukas Reimann, MP from Saint Gallen, gave the game away in a tweet on Friday that came to the attention of the Central Islamic Council of Switzerland.
The council, attentive to every movement of SVP politicians since the party waged a successful anti-minaret campaign in Switzerland, gave the tweet plenty of exposure, state broadcaster RTS reported on Wednesday.
RTS and other Swiss media subsequently highlighted the declarations of Luzi Stamm, MP from Aargau about Swiss sanctions against Iran.
In comments seized upon by the English-language Tehran Times, the SVP member of the Swiss lower house of parliament said imposing sanctions was a wrong policy and contrary to Switzerland’s “moderate” foreign policy.
The newspaper said online that Stamm, who was leading the “parliamentary delegation”, made the remarks in a meeting with Alaeddin Boroujerdi, Iranian Majilis national security and foreign policy committee chairman.
Boroujerdi “praised the good relations between the two countries and said it is necessary to expand ties in different areas especially parliamentary relationship”, the Tehran Times said.
The Iranian official is quoted as saying that Iran supports promotion of cooperation with Switzerland because of its independent policies and its non-membership of the European Union and NATO.
On Monday, the Times reported that Abbas-Ali Mansouri Arani, the chairman of the Iran-Switzerland parliamentary friendship group, expressed Tehran’s readiness to cooperate with Swiss parliament to expand ties.
He also talked of the potential to enhance scientific and technological exchanges.
He reportedly made the comments during a meeting with the SVP delegation on Monday.
The Tehran Times said the Swiss delegation “expressed content over its trip to Iran and called for expansion of ties among parliamentarians and people of the two countries”.
Members of the SVP delegation, however, have declined to comment on the Iranian trip to Swiss media, calling it a private matter.
In Bern, numerous MPs said they regretted the publicity sparked by the journey, while others spoke about how the Swiss politicians had been “manipulated” by the Iranians, RTS reported.
A spokesman for the federal department of foreign affairs noted that the parliamentarians involved did not officially represent Switzerland, the broadcaster said.