Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for January 8, 2023

Newsline: Iranians protest outside French embassy

Dozens of Iranians gathered Sunday outside the French embassy in Tehran protesting against cartoons of the Islamic republic’s supreme leader by French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. Iran has warned France over the “insulting and indecent” cartoons, which appeared in a special edition to mark the anniversary of the deadly 2015 attack on the magazine’s Paris offices. Dozens of protesters, most of them religious seminary students, gathered in front of the embassy in the centre of the capital Tehran and set fire to French flags, AFP journalists reported. “France, be ashamed!”, the crowd chanted. Waving Iranian flags, they held pictures of Khamenei and signs reading “I will sacrifice my life for the leader”, and “Shame on Charlie Hebdo”. (https://www.france24.com/en/middle-east/20230108-iranians-protest-outside-french-embassy-after-charlie-hebdo-cartoons) Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani on Sunday said that freedom of speech should not be used as a pretext for “insulting” religion. The magazine on Wednesday published caricatures of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in support of the months-long protests in Iran, sparked by the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, following her arrest for allegedly violating the country’s strict dress code.

Newsline: US ambassador to Russia to seek more staff to provide visa services

New US Ambassador to Russia Lynne Tracy will aim to expand staff at the US Embassy in Moscow so it can improve performance including potentially resume visa issuance, US State Department Spokesman Ned Price said. “Her focus will be to provide leadership to the embassy to maintain this bilateral relationship in a period of extraordinarily heightened tensions and to work with the Russian government to improve staffing at the US Embassy platform, so that our embassy can perform basic functions, like potentially even visa issuance,” he said at a news conference. (https://tass.com/world/1559373) “We believe it’s in the interests of both our countries, in the United States and in Russia, to have fully effective, functioning missions in our respective countries, including the ability to provide visa services,” Price said.

Newsline: Netherlands summons Iranian ambassador

The Dutch government will summon the Iranian ambassador to the Netherlands for the second time in a month to voice its deep concerns over the execution of demonstrators, Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said on Saturday. “Appalled by the horrible executions of demonstrators in Iran. I will summon the Iranian ambassador to underline our serious concerns and I call upon EU Member States to do the same,” Hoekstra said in a tweet. (https://neuters.de/world/europe/netherlands-summons-iranian-ambassador-again-over-executions-2023-01-07/) Iran on Saturday hanged two men for allegedly killing a member of the security forces during nationwide protests that followed the death of 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman Mahsa Amini on Sept. 16. Hoekstra said these actions underlined the need for the European Union to impose stronger sanctions on Iran than are currently being considered. The Netherlands also summoned the Iranian ambassador in The Hague last month to protest against the execution of demonstrators in the country.