Iran on Monday accused France of fuelling “extremism” after President Emmanuel Macron vowed to never give in to Islamic radicals and defended the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed.
“Muslims are the primary victims of the ‘cult of hatred’ — empowered by colonial regimes & exported by their own clients,” Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted.
“Insulting 1.9B Muslims — & their sanctities — for the abhorrent crimes of such extremists is an opportunistic abuse of freedom of speech. It only fuels extremism,” he added.
It follows statements Macron made last week after a Chechen extremist murdered a French teacher on October 16.
Macron said history teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded for showing caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed to pupils “because Islamists want our future”.
On Sunday, Macron said in a tweet, “We will not give in, ever” to Islamic radicals.
“We do not accept hate speech and defend reasonable debate,” the French leader added.
Other top Iranian officials also joined the chorus of those condemning the French president.
Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, tweeted that Macron’s comments showed “his lack of experience in politics, otherwise he would not have dared insult Islam”.
He advised the French leader to “read more history” and not rely on the “support of a declining American and deteriorating” Israel.
Parliament speaker Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf slammed France’s “foolish enmity” with the Prophet Mohammed and said his sayings and “light cannot be put out with such blind, futile and anti-human acts.”
Ali Akbar Velayati, adviser to Iran’s supreme leader on foreign policy, said the cartoon should not have been reprinted following “global condemnation” of France’s Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine.
“We should have seen… the obscene magazine insulting the Prophet prevented from printing, but implementing double standards caused this heretical and anti-religious thinking to also manifest itself in the country’s education system,” he said in a statement.
Macron’s comments triggered protests in some Muslim-majority countries, with people burning pictures of him in Syria and setting fire to French flags in Libya.
Boycotts of French goods are also underway in supermarkets in Qatar and Kuwait.