Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Thursday threatened to isolate India over the killing of Muslims in the recent Delhi communal riots…writes Aarti Tikoo Singh
Khamenei’s reprimand came after New Delhi, a few days ago, lodged its protest against Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif’s tweet in which he condemned “the wave of organized violence against Indian Muslims”. The cleric conveyed the threat to India through his Twitter page too.
“The hearts of Muslims all over the world are grieving over the massacre of Muslims in India,” he tweeted. The government of India, he said, “should confront extremist Hindus and their parties and stop the massacre of Muslims in order to prevent India’s isolation from the world of Islam.” Khameini used the hashtag #IndianMuslimsInDanger. Hundreds of Muslims liked and retweeted his tweet within hours.
Interestingly, India shares a good relation with most Sunni countries in the world.
The Shia-dominated Iran has been frequently expressing hostility towards India ever since the latter strengthened its strategic ties with Tehran’s archrivals, the US and Israel, in the last six years. Relations have also been under strain after India stopped buying rude oil from Iran to avoid penalties that President Donald Trump imposed on the US allies that trade with the Islamic Republic.
Last year, massive protests broke out in Tehran after oil prices shot up enormously. After the Iranian government crackdown on protestors and censored the press, the protest soon turned into a country-wide agitation demanding regime-change.
Around 1,500 protestors were killed and thousands were tortured and arrested, as per several estimates. The Islamic republic, under Sharia law, has death penalty for apostasy, imprisonment of women for not wearing ‘hijab’ (head covering) and other severe punishments for defying religious rules.
Early this year, after the US killed Iranian revolutionary guard and spy chief Qasem Soleimani in an air strike in Iraq, the ties between Tehran and Washington descended to a new low. In retaliation, Iran struck on a US military base in Iraq and claimed to have killed several American soldiers. It also shot down a Ukrainian plane killing over 170 civilians but later claimed that it was an accident.
Soon after the first state visit of US President Trump to India last month, Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif made scathing comments on the communal riots in Delhi over Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
The recently enacted law, CAA fast tracks citizenship of persecuted religious minorities of three Islamic theocratic countries neighbouring India –Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
The CAA triggered widespread violent protests in India, with the opposition calling it discriminatory against Muslims. During Trump’s visit, several parts of Delhi, the epicentre of violent protests against the CAA, erupted in communal riots. Over 50 people of both Hindu and Muslim communities were killed along with some security officials too.
Imran thanks Khamenei
Cricketer-turned BJP MP Gautam Gambhir lashed out at another cricker-politician – Imran Khan, late on Thursday night. Calling Pakistan a ‘terrorist state’, Gambhir hit out at the Pakistani PM after he thanked Iran’s Khamanei for sharply speaking out against India.
Gambhir tweeted: “The head of a terrorist state @ImranKhanPTI is giving lectures to a democratic republic. Save your people from the brutality of your Lord Bajwa and keep your views to yourself!” He went on to add, “You can secure ‘donations’ for your country in other ways too!” Gambhir ended by saying, “Jai Hind” with an emoticon of the tricolour.
This was in reference to Khan’s tweet where he said: “I want to thank Supreme Leader Khamenei, & President Erdogan, for speaking against the oppression & massacre of Muslims in India & Kashmiris …” Khan in fact went on claim, “Sadly, few voices from the Muslim World are speaking out & condemning this; & more voices are being raised in the West condemning the Hindu Supremacist Modi regime’s massacre of Muslims in India & Kashmiris in IOJK.” Not only India has refuted those charges in the past but it’s also against India’s stated position that the entire Jammu and Kashmir is inalienable part of India.
The Pakistani PM was thanking the Iran’s supreme leader for taking yo Twitter and expressing his views against India for what he called “massacre of Muslims in India”. It is highly likely Khamenei’s tweet was for the recent Delhi violence in which both sides were hit, as against to a ‘massacre’ of one community as the top cleric of Iran sought to make it look like.