Is Vienna to blame? – Gay Austrian-Iranian risks the death penalty


An Austrian-Iranian couple has confronted the foreign ministry and the Austrian embassy in Tehran with serious allegations. The problem: The two men exchanged vows in the Alpine Republic, and this information likely leaked to Iran. Now the Austro-Iranian risks the death penalty.

In Iran, homosexuality is a social taboo and homosexual acts are punishable by death – public executions are not uncommon. So the gay couple tied the knot in Austria and assumed they would never find out in Tehran. But it should have been different. The assumption: when applying for an Austrian visitor visa for the Iranian part of the family, the couple’s homosexuality came to light, the morning newspaper “Ö1” reported on Saturday. Other media previously reported on the case.

State Department rejects allegations in the strongest possible terms
In a statement, the State Department “strongly rejected” the false allegations. “After allegations that personal data had been passed on to outsiders, which have since been refuted, first became known, the State Department immediately responded and launched an internal review,” a statement sent Saturday said. No irregularities or violations of confidentiality have been detected by employees of the Austrian embassy and Tehran or the external service provider for the visa applications.

NEOS spokesperson sees incredible failure from authorities
“However, after the personal data have been widely reported in the media, the confidentiality of the case is unfortunately no longer given. In principle, however, we cannot provide information about safe return options for non-Austrian nationals,” said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Last week NEOS LGBTIQ+ spokesperson Yannick Shetty drew attention to the matter on Twitter and announced an extensive parliamentary inquiry into the “incomprehensible official failure”.

Schallenberg: “Employees sensitized”
On March 23 of this year, Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg (ÖVP) said in response to a parliamentary question from NEOS in January: “The employees of the Austrian Embassy in Tehran and the Visa Facilitation Service (VFS) Global have been working for some time now. time to applications from Iranian nationals residing in Austria who have sought protection for political or religious reasons or because of their sexual orientation.” So far, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not received any further complaints in this regard.

Man will never be able to enter Iran again
To avoid reprisals against the family in Iran, the couple wishes to remain anonymous. The Iranian husband of the Austrian has been living and working as an ophthalmologist in the EU for years. However, should he return to his old homeland, he should expect to be arrested and hanged, “Ö1” reported.

If his parents fall ill or something happens that forces him to go to Iran urgently, he has no alternative. “There is no possibility. I can forget my country, my future in my country and everything I had (…)”, the morning news quoted the person concerned.

Criticism of outsourcing visa applications
The Austrian embassy in Tehran does not process visa applications itself, but has outsourced this to an external company, the doctor’s Austrian husband criticized. Instead of outsourcing the visa process, officials at the embassy in Tehran could have taken over the whole process themselves – that would have protected the man.

Despite several warnings, the State Department did the opposite. “We don’t know if he did this out of homophobia, recklessness or just plain incompetence.” All that is clear is that the authorities exposed the man to the Iranian authorities, putting him in serious danger.

Source: Krone


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