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Iran slams ‘barbarous’ Russian envoy assassination in Ankara

19 December 2016 21:27

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The Iranian Foreign Ministry has strongly condemned as “barbarous” the assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey in a gun attack in the Turkish capital city of Ankara.

Andrey Karlov was shot dead while delivering a speech on the opening of a photo exhibition dubbed “Russia in the eyes of Turks” on Monday.

“This criminal act indicates that terrorists affiliated to extremist and Takfiri groups are not bound by any standards, principles or the international law,” the Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Monday.

“They are carrying out such brutal measures with the purpose of creating conflict among countries and [spreading] ever more insecurity and instability in the region,” the Iranian spokesperson added.

He described terrorism as the ominous and detestable phenomenon of the century and current era, saying that that the scourge should only be addressed through solidarity and unity among all nations and states as well as a non-stop fight free from any double standards.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran will stand by governments and nations in the region and across the world until the complete eradication of this vicious phenomenon,” Qassemi stressed.

Turkish police secure the area near an art gallery where the Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov was shot in Ankara, Turkey, on December 19, 2016. (Photo by Reuters)

Following the shooting of Karlov, the assailant reportedly shouted: “Don’t forget Aleppo! Don’t forget Syria!”
Since last year, Russia has been providing Syrian government forces with air support in their fight against terror groups, particularly in the recent recapture of Syria’s northwestern city of Aleppo from foreign-backed militants.

“This is a tragic day in the history of Russian diplomacy. Today, Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov died after being shot at during a public event in Ankara,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Monday evening.

The assault on the Russian ambassador is an “act of terrorism,” she added.

“We are in touch with Turkish officials, who assured us that there will be a thorough and comprehensive investigation [into the case],” Zakharova said.

According to Turkish NTV broadcaster, three other people were also injured in the attack.

The attacker, himself a police officer, was reportedly killed by Turkish Special Forces.

Elena Panina, a Russian MP and member of the international relations committee, said the assault may have been carried out with the aim of undermining relations between Moscow and Ankara.

“I believe that this is a provocation to disrupt improved dialogue between Russia and Turkey. Moreover, we know that [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan is due to visit the Russian Federation. Therefore, it is a pure provocation,” Panina told RIA Novosti news agency.

Following the attack, Erdogan spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the details of Karlov’s death.

Meanwhile, the Turkish Foreign Ministry has confirmed that scheduled trilateral Russian, Turkish and Iranian negotiations on Syria would not be delayed despite the murder of the Russian ambassador.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Russian and Turkish counterparts Sergei Lavrov and Mevlut Cavusoglu, respectively, are planned to hold a meeting in Moscow on Tuesday.

Furthermore, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan is to hold talks with his Russian and Turkish counterparts Sergei Shoigu and Fikri Isik, respectively, in Moscow on Tuesday to address the latest developments in the region and the situation on the ground in Syria, especially in the newly liberated city of Aleppo.

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