In the absence of the French ambassador to Tehran, Florent Aydalot was summoned on Monday to Iran’s Foreign Ministry, where he met with the department’s deputy director-general for European Affairs.
During the session, the Iranian official denounced the French officials’ “unacceptable measures,” which have hurt the feelings of millions of Muslims in Europe and the entire world, saying, “Any insult and disrespect to Islam’s Prophet (PBUH) and pure Islamic values by any person —regardless of their position — are strongly condemned and rejected.”
Earlier this month, French history teacher Samuel Paty provoked outrage by showing to his students the blasphemous cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), 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.
French President Emmanuel Macron characterized the incident as an “Islamist terrorist attack.”
The remarks have triggered anti-France sentiment in the Muslim world, prompting calls for the boycott of French goods and an official apology.
In a tribute to the slain teacher, Macron described him as a “quiet hero” and posthumously awarded him the Légion d’Honneur, the country’s highest civilian honor.
He also vowed his country would not “give up cartoons” depicting Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), claiming that the teacher was killed by “cowards” for representing the secular, democratic values of the French Republic.
Similarly, French Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer tweeted, “Our unity and our resolve are the only responses faced with the monstrosity of Islamist terrorism.”
Elsewhere in his remarks, the Iranian Foreign Ministry official said, “Fueling Islamophobia and hatred in the name of freedom of expression, which should serve understanding, empathy and peaceful coexistence between human societies, is regrettable.”
“The French officials’ irrational reaction to the actions of extremists, who perpetrate violence in the name of Islam, only provides the ground for the growth of tendencies that are deviant and inconsistent with this divine religion, which always heralds toleration, rationalism, peace and justice,” he added.
The French diplomat, for his part, promised to convey Iran’s protest to the relevant authorities in Paris as soon as possible.
Several high-ranking Iranian official have already denounced the Islamophic rhetoric of French officials and urged them to refrain from sacrilege of Islamic sanctities.