Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, Abbas Araghchi, has come under fire from members of parliament and hard-line media for congratulating the British royal family on the birth of the new prince.
On Tuesday, when asked by a French reporter if the birth in the royal family could “improve relations between Tehran and London,” Araghchi had congratulated the royal family and said that “He is the third in line to the monarchy.” Araghchi warned, however, that an improvement in the relationship between the two countries would not be a simple task. “The dimensions of are our relationships are too complex for an issue such as this to help it,” he said.
Hard-line Mashregh interviewed three members of the parliament’s national security council for their reaction on Araghchi’s statements.
Javad Karimi Ghadousi said that “When the eighth parliament approved of a bill that reduced political and diplomatic relations with England, and when England reduced its relations with Iran, and currently England’s embassy in Iran and the Iran’s embassy England are closed, and even now the state of an interests section is not clear, [Araghchi’s] position is questionable.”
In November 2011, the British Embassy in Tehran was stormed by protesters after the UK approved sanctions on Iranian banks over their nuclear program. Although Iran’s foreign ministry expressed “regret” over the incident, the UK withdrew its diplomatic staff from Tehran and expelled the Iranian embassy staff from London. In August 2012, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that although the “sentiments” of the youth who stormed the embassy were correct, “entering the embassy was not right.”
Karimi Ghadousi continued, “Iranians are still upset about the dark colonial history of England. How can the spokesman for the foreign ministry take such a position on a reactionary … phenomenon?” He added, “The people of England themselves have formed widespread campaigns to oppose the basis of the monarchy.”
Alaeddin Borujerdi, chairman of parliament’s commission on the national security council, said of the birth that “It has no place in the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran and this issue does not have the value of taking a position.” He added, “Relations with England are the result of their actions toward Iran. England has a long, dark history in Iran which has caused the resentment of the nation. And after the Islamic revolution, along with America, their policy has been one of hostility.”
On the possibility of future relations between England and Iran, Borujerdi said, “Until they change their policies, we cannot have an improvement in relations. It is also England that made the decision to cut relations, and it is them that has to compensate for this.”
Kazem Jalali said, “It was a mistake that it happened and there was no need to take a position on it.” He added, “It was not even an important event in the world and the English have had many of these births. It was not worthy of the dignity of the spokesman of the Foreign Ministry of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
Yesterday, the UK Foreign Office spokesperson said that the UK would not be sending a representative to president-elect Hassan Rouhani’s inauguration, despite receiving an invitation.