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Iranian Speaker Urges Russian, British Envoys to Apologize for Annoying Photo

Iran's Parliament Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf lashed out at the Russian and British ambassadors to Tehran for taking and releasing a photo considered by the Iranians as humiliating, asking them to apologize immediately.

The Twitter account of Russia’s Embassy in Iran published a photo on Wednesday, showing new British Ambassador to Tehran Simon Shercliff sitting with Russia’s Ambassador Levan Dzhagaryan on the upstairs in the porch of Russian Embassy building.

Qalibaf took to twitter to condemn the photo opportunity in the Russian embassy, saying that the “diplomatically disrespectful and improper behavior by ambassadors of Russia and Britain” should be quickly addressed by the foreign ministry.

He insisted that both ambassadors must immediately apologize for the behavior or a decisive diplomatic response would be imperative.

The location and setting of the photo reminded the 1943 Tehran conference where the then British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, then US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and then Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin sit at the same place for photo opportunity.

The conference is widely notorious among Iranians and is considered as an aggression and humiliation of Iranian identity and sovereignty. The photo was broadly criticized by all walks of life in Iranian media and social networks.

After the harsh reactions by the Iranians, the Russian embassy wrote on its twitter account that it did not intend to bother the Iranian people’s feelings.

“Taking into account the ambiguous reaction to our photo, we would like to note that it does not have any anti-Iranian context. We were not going to offend the feelings of the friendly Iranian people,” it said.

“The only meaning that this photo has to pay tribute to the joint efforts of the allied states against Nazism during the Second World War. Iran is our friend and neighbor, and we will continue to strengthen relations based on mutual respect.”

Different media outlets and Iranian people have called on the Russian embassy on their social media accounts to apologize for the wrong deed.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif rapped the Russian and British envoys for the photo.

“I saw an extremely inappropriate picture today. Need I remind all that Aug. 2021 is neither Aug. 1941 nor Dec. 1943. The Iranian people have shown—including during the JCPOA talks—that their destiny can NEVER be subject to decisions in foreign embassies or by foreign powers,” Zarif wrote in a tweet.

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