Iran summons French diplomat over alleged insult against Prophet Mohammad

Iran's foreign minister said on Monday that insulting Muslims is an "opportunistic" abuse of free speech in an apparent reference to the remarks by Macron.

French President Emmanuel Macron and French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe attend a meeting with members of the Citizens' Convention on Climate (CCC) to discuss over environment proposals at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France June 29, 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS/CHRISTIAN HARTMANN)
French President Emmanuel Macron and French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe attend a meeting with members of the Citizens' Convention on Climate (CCC) to discuss over environment proposals at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France June 29, 2020
(photo credit: REUTERS/CHRISTIAN HARTMANN)
Iran's Foreign Ministry has summoned the French charge d'affaires over alleged insults against Islam's Prophet Mohammad, Iranian state broadcaster IRIB reported on Tuesday.
A ministry official told the diplomat during their meeting on Monday that Iran strongly rejected "any insult and disrespect to the Prophet of Islam..., and Islam's pure values of Islam by any person regardless of their position," IRIB said on its social media feed.
The move came in reaction to remarks by French President Emmanuel Macron perceived to be critical of Islam.
Iran's foreign minister said on Monday that insulting Muslims is an "opportunistic" abuse of free speech in an apparent reference to the remarks by Macron.
"Muslims are the primary victims of the 'cult of hatred'," the minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, tweeted, without directly addressing Macron.
"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.
Macron, who led a tribute to a history teacher beheaded this month by a Chechen teenager for showing caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad in class, declared war on "Islamist separatism", which he believes is taking over some Muslim communities in France.
Unlike some Muslim countries, Iran's clerical rulers have not called for a boycott of French goods. But several Iranian officials and politicians, including the heads of parliament and the judiciary, have condemned Macron for "Islamophobia", according to Iranian state media.
Ali Shamkhani, a close ally of Iran's top authority Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Macron's "irrational behaviour" displayed his "crudeness in politics".
"Otherwise he would not have dared to embrace Islam in his quest for leadership in #Europe," tweeted Shamkhani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National security Council.
"I suggest that he read more history and not rejoice in the support of a declining America & #Zionism."