News ID: 109425
Published: 0311 GMT January 14, 2015

Tehran condemns Prophet's cartoon as 'provocative'

Tehran condemns Prophet's cartoon as 'provocative'

Iran condemned the publication of the latest cartoon depicting Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) on the cover of a French magazine.

"We condemn the blasphemous act of the French weekly [in publishing this cartoon] because it will provoke and hurt the feelings of Muslims and could fan the flame of the vicious circle of extremism in the world," said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham at her weekly press conference.

She underlined the need to respect the sanctities of all divine religions, criticizing the West-style freedom of expression.

On Wednesday, French magazine Charlie Hebdo once again published a cartoon depicting Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) on the cover of its new edition. Muslims consider portraying the Prophet of Islam as blasphemous.

Iran has also strongly condemned last week's deadly assault on the magazine's Paris office by Islamic extremists who killed 12 people, including much of the weekly's editorial staff and two police officers.

Afkham said the attack was against Islam's teachings. Islam forbids depictions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) or other prophets.

Al-Qaida's Yemeni affiliate claimed last week's attack as a revenge for the magazine's earlier publication of caricatures of the prophet deemed offensive.


Call for respect among cultures


In remarks on the sidelines of nuclear talks in Geneva, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif called for mutual respect among different cultures.

"We believe that sanctities need to be respected and unless we learn to respect one another it will be very difficult in a world of different views and differing cultures and civilizations," he told reporters.

"I think we would have a much safer, much more prudent world if we were to engage in serious dialogue, serious debate about our differences and then what we will find out that what binds us together is far greater than what divides us."


Falling oil prices


Reacting to a severe drop in oil prices over the past months, Afkham said oil should not turn into a political tool, adding that all countries, especially oil producers, will be the ones to suffer from slumping prices.

"If oil, which is an economic issue, turns political then countries themselves will get harmed," she added.

Afkham added that the member states of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) are in talks to control falling oil prices.

Iran, which is an OPEC member, seeks to wean the country off dependency on oil revenues, she stated.

Oil prices have plunged about 50 percent since June last year over increased supplies by certain countries such as Saudi Arabia, the largest producer in OPEC, and lackluster global economic growth.

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