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Iran And Hungary In Dispute Over Coronavirus Expulsion Of Students

A general view of Budapest, with the Danube river. FILE PHOTO
A general view of Budapest, with the Danube river. FILE PHOTO

The Islamic Republic Foreign Ministry summoned Hungary's Ambassador to Tehran to protest what it described as "mistreatment of fifteen Iranian students by the police and medical personnel in a hospital.

Fifteen Iranian students infected with coronavirus were in isolation in Szent László Hospital in Budapest before being expelled from Hungary.

In his meeting with Hungarian ambassador, Zoltan Varga-Haszonits, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, denounced the Hungarian government's decision to expel fifteen Iranian students suspected of coronavirus as "unacceptable," urging the ambassador to convey Tehran's protest to his superiors in Budapest.

He also highlighted the responsibility of the Hungarian government in providing sanitary and treatment facilities to all Iranian students in the country.

Furthermore, he urged Hungarian authorities to reconsider their decision over the case of the expelled Iranian students.

"Hungarian ambassador, for his part, presented a report on the latest situation on coronavirus outbreak in the country as well as the government's measures in containing it and promised to convey Iranian government's request to the respective government at the earliest," the Islamic Republic official news agency, IRNA, reported.

Earlier, on March 16, local news outlets in Budapest cited Hungarian Ministry of Health officials as saying that thirteen Iranian students had left their quarantined rooms and behaved aggressively with the health staff.

However, according to the Iranian students in Budapest, they were attending a party celebrating the arrival of two of their friends from Iran who had contracted the Novel coronavirus without knowing it.

"Hungarian police force stormed the residence of the Iranian students at early hours of the morning and forcefully took them to a hospital," the Iranian students maintain, adding, "They should have allowed us to isolate ourselves at our homes to see whether we were infected with the virus or not."

Two more Iranian students were expelled from the country on Friday for a similar misdemeanor.

Hungarian Index reported on March 13, the two 23-year-old university students had left their assigned quarantine wards at the Szent László block of the Central Hospital of Southern Pest (DPC) without permission and protective clothing.

In a statement, the Hungarian Ministry of Health announced that the students refused to return to their hospital ward even after being repeatedly instructed to do so, vocally expressed their disdain, and were aggressive towards medical staff and disobeyed their directions.

Regarding the thirteen students, the execution of the expulsion order was suspended until there will be "conditions necessary for the execution of the expulsion order." Still, the Iranian students will not be allowed to leave their prescribed place of residence. The two 23-year-old Iranian students were also banned from entering Hungary for the next three years, and the Budapest Police Department is still investigating them for the misdemeanor of disobeying epidemiological regulations, Index reported.

The enraged Iranian students insist that they are going to be expelled without access to their educational records and documents. They also assert that they are on the verge of expulsion without having any health problems.

In the meantime, Hungary Today said that there had been "communication problems" between the Iranian students and the hospital staff.

Some 2,500 Iranian students are currently in Hungary, mainly studying medicine, dentistry, and pharmacology at private universities.

The deteriorating economic situation in Iran and the substantial expenses of studying abroad have forced many of the Iranian students to return to the country before graduation.