New Delhi: Iran has condemned the Delhi riots, terming them as “organised violence against Indian Muslims”, and has called upon the Indian government to “not let senseless thuggery prevail”.
The strongly worded statement was issued by Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif on Twitter on Monday night.
“Iran condemns the wave of organised violence against Indian Muslims. For centuries, Iran has been a friend of India,” he tweeted.
Emphasising the word ‘all’, Zarif called on the Indian government to help all Indians. “We urge Indian authorities to ensure the wellbeing of ALL Indians & not let senseless thuggery prevail. Path forward lies in peaceful dialogue and rule of law,” he said.
Iran condemns the wave of organized violence against Indian Muslims.
For centuries, Iran has been a friend of India. We urge Indian authorities to ensure the wellbeing of ALL Indians & not let senseless thuggery prevail.
Path forward lies in peaceful dialogue and rule of law.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) March 2, 2020
Iran is the first country to directly use the word ‘condemn’ for the riots that are the worst Delhi has seen in decades. So far, 47 have been reported dead and hundreds have been left injured.
Iranian Supreme leader Ayotallah Khamenei has often criticised India’s Kashmir policy, but the Iranian executive has remained largely silent. Last year in August, Iranian president Hasan Rouhani had called upon India to “stop the killing of innocent people in Kashmir” after the reading-down of Article 370 and imposition of strict security measures.
Zarif had been in India in January to attend the Raisina Dialogue. In a media interview, he had offered to use Iran’s “good offices” to help to improve relations between India and Pakistan.
Last week, Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country, had summoned the Indian ambassador to express concern about the riots. The Indonesian government had said that it had “complete confidence that the government of India will be able to manage the situation and ensure the harmonious relations among its religious communities”.
Jakarta was forced to summon the Indian envoy last Friday as there had been a rising tide of domestic concern about the riots, with statements from ministers and major NGOs.
The United States has also urged India to respect the right to peaceful protest and has urged all sides to refrain from violence. But even though the violence in north-east Delhi was ongoing while Donald Trump had been in India, the US president had refused to comment on the situation during a press conference in Delhi.
“We echo (Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s) call for calm and normalcy and urge all parties to maintain peace, refrain from violence and respect the right of peaceful assembly,” Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Alice Wells wrote on Twitter last Thursday.