The British and Russian ambassadors to Iran sparked outrage after they recreated a photo of Soviet, Russian and US leaders taken at the Tehran Conference during WWII.
https://www.jpost.com/-By TZVI JOFFRE
Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill on the portico of the Russian Embassy during the Tehran Conference(photo credit: Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library/Museum of the National Archives)
The British and Russian ambassadors to Iran came under fire on Thursday after they recreated a photo on Wednesday of Soviet, British, and American heads of state taken during the Tehran Conference in World War II.
USSR leader Joseph Stalin, then British prime minister Winston Churchill and then US president Franklin D. Roosevelt met in Tehran in 1943 to discuss opening a second front against Nazi Germany and the desire to maintain Iran’s independence and sovereignty.
The conference took place two years after the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran when British and Soviet forces jointly invaded and occupied Iran in order to prevent the establishment of a German base there.
The photo published on Thursday showed British Ambassador to Iran Simon Shercliff meeting with Russian Ambassador Levan Dzhagaryan on the steps where the Tehran Conference took place, leaving an empty chair between them where Roosevelt sat in the original photo as there is no American mission in Iran.
Iranian officials expressed outrage at the photo, with the state-controlled Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting saying that the photo reminded “the days of occupation and humiliation of the Iranian nation.”
The two ambassadors were invited to the Iranian Foreign Ministry on Thursday for clarifications on the photo, with the Russian ambassador clarifying that the photo was meant to serve as a reminder of Russia’s alliance with Britain during WWII.
The Russian Embassy to Iran stated in a tweet that the photo “does not have any anti-Iranian context.”
“We were not going to offend the feelings of the friendly Iranian people,” tweeted the embassy. “The only meaning that this photo has [is] 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.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called the photo “extremely inappropriate” in a tweet.
“Need I remind all that Aug. 2021 is neither Aug. 1941 nor Dec. 1943,” wrote Zarif, referring to the dates of the Anglo-Soviet invasion and the Tehran Conference. “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.”
Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, who new Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has designated as the foreign minister in his government, called the publication of the photo “non-diplomatic,” saying that it “shows the disregard for the diplomatic etiquette and national pride of the zealous people of Iran.” Amir-Abdollahian called for the “quick correction” of the error.
Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, speaker of the Iranian parliament (Majlis), stated that the matter should be pursued immediately by the Foreign Ministry and that both ministers must immediately formally apologize for the photo, “otherwise a decisive diplomatic response will be necessary.”