In remarks ahead of his meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva, Iranian foreign minister and chief nuclear negotiator Mohammad Javad Zarif said that the depictions of Mohammad by French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo were “provocative,” and undermined efforts to “engage in a serious dialogue,” Bloomberg News reported today.
While Zarif offered a general condemnation of terror, he was specific in his criticism of the satirical weekly, whose offices were attacked last week leaving twelve people dead. “We disapprove of provocative moves and this weekly’s undertaking is insulting and will provoke the feelings of Muslims,” Zarif said.
When asked about the latest edition of the magazine that was published since the deadly assault on its offices, Zarif insisted that this endangered the possibility of dialogue between Iran and the West, “We believe that sanctities need to be respected. We won’t be able to engage in a serious dialogue if we start disrespecting each other’s values.”
It was unclear from the report whether Zarif was suggesting that the satire would have an effect on the nuclear talks or whether he was referring to a more general reconciliation between Iran and the West.
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