Iraqi consul in Iran summoned home over controversial plastic surgery advert
Outrage in Iraq after Yassin Sharif was seen advertising for a cosmetic clinic in Meshhad
Iraq’s Foreign Ministry has summoned its consul to Iran after he appeared in a video advertising an Iranian centre for cosmetic surgery.
Yassin Sharif was featured in a video for a plastic surgery clinic for hair transplant and rhinoplasty procedures filmed inside the consulate building in the city of Mashhad.
The video sparked outrage in Iraq, prompting the newly-appointed Foreign Minister Mohamad Al Hakim to recall Mr Sharif back to Baghdad, the ministry said in a statement.
In his defence, the Iraqi diplomat said he visited the centre with a delegation from the consulate to "advise Iraqis, who visit Iran for medical purposes, with accurate information of centres that offer the best services and have reasonable prices.”
“Along with an Iraqi delegation, I visited the Iranian cosmetic centre in Mashhad to ensure that Iraqis do not fall victim to fraudulent activities in Iran,” Mr Sharif said in the video.
He advised Iraqis to visit the clinic’s Facebook page as it specialises in hair transplants and plastic surgery.
Mr Sharif said the consulate's intention was not to pressure Iraqi citizens to visit the centre, bit merely to advise them.
Many Iraqis described the video as an “embarrassment” and a “scandal” calling on Mr Sharif to resign.
“What is the meaning of this propaganda for a hair transplant centre? Why is the flag of the Islamic Republic in the Iraqi consulate?” Saif Al Hiti, an Iraqi journalist asked on Twitter.
Ahmed Hassan, a primary school teacher in Baghdad called the video outrageous.
“I can’t believe Iraq has got to this embarrassing state of shame as the foreign minister had to summon the consul back to Baghdad for using his position to make money,” he said on Twitter.
Mr Sharif has been working at the foreign ministry since 2007 and has held several positions including the deputy consul at the Iraqi embassy in Doha and the head of the political section of the Iraqi embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
The development comes as Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammed Javad Zarif, is expected to arrive in Baghdad, according to Iran’s Mehr news agency.
Mr Zarif is expected to meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mehdi, Parliamentary speaker Mohammed Al Halbousi and President Barham Salih on Monday.
Updated: January 13, 2019 03:38 PM