Americans often wonder when and where hard feelings against the West began in Iran. Perhaps it goes all the way back to the ancient Greeks calling their Persian invaders Barbarians as the start of the current East/West split.
Reaction to Threat of Quran Burning
Tehran’s Ettelaat International Newspaper, quotes Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: “Muslim nations must grow closer to one another and take steps toward unity, since the only way to confront the anti-Islamic front is the formation of a united front by the Muslim community.”
The Leader previously said on Friday, September 10, 2010: “The idea that the enemies of Islam are on friendly terms with some Muslims and are enemies with other Muslims is a wrong one, because they are opposed to the main principle of Islam which urges standing up to bullies.”
Both statements were made in the context of Florida Pastor Terry Jones’ plan (which was later reversed, of course) to burn Qurans on the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. About this threat, President Ahmandi Nejad was quoted the same day saying: “The plan to burn Qurans was a Zionist plot, and against the teachings of all divine prophets.”
At the same time Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottakicondemned the Pastor’s scheme, warning that followers of other religionswould join the Muslim community and condemn it. He was right. USSecretary of State Hillary Clinton criticized Pastor Jones’ Dove WorldOutreach Center’s plan, saying that it is “disrespectful anddisgraceful.” The US State Department called the move “un-American“,while US Attorney General Eric Holder labeled it “idiotic anddangerous.” Yet few media sources in the West reported the reaction as acommon view held by both East and West, and continuing a dialogue thatbegan when ancient Persia and Greece first confronted each other.
Iranian Diplomat Comments on Recent Departure
Al-Jazeera English broadcast an interview with former Iraniandiplomat in Finland on September 13, 2010. In theinterview, Mr. Alizadeh confirmed that he had resigned last week becauseof Iranian government attacks on protesters after the 2009 elections.
In leaving his post as second-in-charge at the Iranian Embassy aswell as the grace and favor associated with this position, Mr. Alizadehtold Al-Jazeera English: “I cannot accept or tolerate this fraudulentelection. I won’t go back to Iran because I could be executed. I willstay abroad as a political activist.“
Mr. Alizadeh becomes the second Iranian diplomat to resign and defectthis year. In January 2010, Mohammad Reza Heydari, a consular officialin Norway obtained political asylum and now lives in Norway.
Photo credit: (AP Photo/Lehtikuva, Markku Ulander) *