All Muslims are required to form an international front in defense of Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) personality and status, stressed an Iranian MP.
Abolfazl Amooei, the spokesman of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, made the remark in an exclusive interview with Iran Daily, reacting to recent blasphemous cartoons and insulting moves in France against Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and French President Emanuel Macron’s support for them, which have, together, sparked growing outrage among Muslims across the world.
He described as a sacred rage Muslims’ anger at the insult to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
In early October, French history teacher Samuel Paty provoked outrage by showing his students the blasphemous cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) earlier published by the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
He was murdered outside his school in a Paris suburb on October 16 by an 18-year-old assailant, identified as Chechen Abdullakh Anzorov, who was shot dead by police soon after the killing.
Macron characterized the incident as an “Islamist terrorist attack”.
He claimed Islam as a religion was in a state of “crisis” and defended the offensive cartoons, which have hurt the feelings of Muslims in France and elsewhere.
The remarks triggered anti-France sentiment in the Muslim world, prompting calls for the boycott of French goods and an official apology.
Amooei said Macron is faced with many internal problems, adding to divert public opinion from them and escape the blame, he has adopted Islamophobic stances.
In September, Macron had defended the “right to blaspheme” in France after Charlie Hebdo republished sacrilegious cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
The Iranian lawmaker noted that in addition to problems at home, the French president has been unsuccessful in his recent international negotiations and, thus, has been under pressure by the domestic political atmosphere against him.
Domestic political polls show that he is losing his status in the country, he said.
Commenting on Israel’s support for Macron’s anti-Islam stances, Jokar added the Zionist regime’s backing shows that there can be hostile purposes behind the scenes.
Earlier, in a reaction to a call by Turkey’s president for boycotting French products, the Israeli Foreign Ministry, in a statement, had sided with France and criticized the request by Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Amooei added the European Union’s support for the French government’s moves has also caused discontent among Muslims across the world.
On Tuesday, the European Commission warned that Erdogan's comments make Turkey's stalled bid to join the EU an even more distant prospect.
"Calls for a boycott of products of any member state are contrary to the spirit of these obligations and will take Turkey even further away from the European Union," a spokesman said.
This was after EU leaders and officials had rallied around France a day earlier.
Shifting to the ongoing conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh, Amooei said addressing the crisis was placed on the agenda of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee from the very beginning of its eruption.
“Several meetings have been held on this issue. We are seriously monitoring the situation.”
Azerbaijan and Armenia have been locked in the worst fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh in more than 25 years.
Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but it is held by ethnic Armenian separatists backed by Armenia since 1992, when they broke from Azerbaijan in a war that killed some 30,000 people.
Three attempts to establish a lasting cease-fire in the region have failed in the past.
The ongoing fighting erupted in late September.
Amooei said, “The continuation of the crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh has created many dangers and challenges for us. Unfortunately, we have witnessed different rockets launched toward our border. Despite numerous warnings issued to the warring parties, the firing of the rockets still continues.
Iran is required to show a more active reaction to the issue, he underlined.
The lawmaker said according to reports, system errors during battle have been the reason for most of the rockets launched toward Iran.
Thus, he noted, it cannot be precisely determined whether the rockets have been fired at the Iranian border deliberately or not.
“Nevertheless, any offensive against the territory of the Islamic Republic of Iran is a serious and critical issue for us, which will be pursued with great sensitivity.”
He gave the assurance that officials from Iran will soon travel to Nagorno-Karabakh, saying, “We maintain the only solution to this crisis is that the two countries resolve their problems through negotiations while respecting each other’s territorial integrity.”
Emphasizing that the parties involved in the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis should end the conflict as soon as possible, he said, "The crisis has caused many challenges. News of Takfiri forces’ presence in the region has been published. On the other hand, we have also witnessed efforts by the Zionist regime to disrupt peace and stability in the South Caucasus region. These issues have intensified our concerns. The issue should be pursued more seriously by Iran’s diplomatic apparatus.”
Turning to the crisis in Yemen, Amooei said at present, the main challenge in the Arab state is the illegal and baseless intervention of the Saudi-led coalition.
He added the war in Yemen has had no other achievement but destruction and massacre of Yemeni children, women and youths, urging Saudi Arabia to end the war.
Amooei said Iran holds that this war lacks legitimacy and the Yemeni problem can be resolved through dialogue between the Yemeni sides.
The Islamic Republic supports stability and peace in Yemen, he assured, noting, "Today, Yemen’s National Salvation Government has a good position and authority. We think that in the future, stability will be achieved in Yemen through dialogue."
Supported militarily by the US, the UK and several other Western countries, Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015.
The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED) estimates that the war has claimed more than 100,000 lives in Yemen.