Criticism of Zarif politically motivated: Iran Daily

Tehran, Jan 27, IRNA - 'Iran Daily' on Tuesday criticized the furore made on the recent trip by FM Javad Zarif to France to confer with officials of that country on Iran's n-energy program amid protests by the French satirical magazine's sacrilege of Muslims' Prophet (PBUH).

And the controversy over Zarif's walk with top US official John Kerry downtown Geneva, is what the paper underscored as 'politically motivated and absolutely illogical and unscholarly'.
The English-language paper was commenting on the uproar over a recent scheduled trip by Foreign Minister Zarif to France for talks with Western officials over Iran’s nuclear energy program amid protests in the Muslim world owing to the publication of a cartoon insulting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) by the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo or the walk with US Secretary of State John Kerry.
National interests should not be affected by an incident, pointed out the daily.
Undoubtedly, the printing of the sacrilegious cartoon by the French weekly was repulsive and the strong denunciation by the government and Zarif himself normally seems to suffice, added the paper.
However, what the paper suggests, 'the issue should not overshadow other issues such as nuclear negotiations which are critical for the country’s economic and political prospects.'
It must be borne in mind that 'Iran needs to end the dispute over its nuclear activities as this would help enhance its position in the international arena. This would allow Iran to raise its credibility and thus adopt a firmer stance against such acts of sacrilege and lobbying for a permanent international solution to such problems. Therefore, calls for cutting ties with France, expelling its ambassador, or suspending talks are totally irrational,' underscored the paper.
The French government had no role in the publication of the cartoon and cannot be blamed for it, stressed the paper, noting that in Western countries like Denmark, there have been similar acts under the aegis of freedom of speech which drew reactions even from the Pope. This shows that not everyone in the West supports insulting religious sanctities.
Like it or not, the world has its own political order which might be deemed by many as unjust. As long as such order exists, Iran has no way but to accept it, wrote the paper.
'Criticisms leveled against Zarif appear to be pure demagogy aimed at arousing people’s religious feelings for political goals. Those who are attacking the FM are the ones who kept, and will keep, throwing wrenches into nuclear talks. They do not care about Islam and are just using the cartoon as a pretext to block the negotiations,' added the paper.
Before the issue of the cartoon, opponents blasted Zarif for walking with Kerry in Geneva. This is another ridiculous excuse for lambasting the top diplomat because such walk is quite normal in the world of politics for a change or for influencing public opinion positively or even for a more important objective. It might have been done to send a message, especially to the opponents of nuclear talks, wrote the paper.
The short walk in the streets of Geneva was a show of strength to those countries which did their best to sabotage nuclear negotiations. Therefore, it should be seen as an opportunity and not a threat, the paper stressed in conclusion.
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