Here are some of Iran's official reactions to the plans by the pastor of a small Christian church in Florida to mark the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States by burning copies of the Koran.
Grand Ayatollah Safi Golpayegani said that U.S. President Barack Obama will be held responsible if the Dove World Outreach Center's planned "Burn A Koran Day" goes ahead.
In a written statement, Golpaygani, who is a marja, or a Shi'ite source of emulation, warned
against the consequences of burning the holy book of the Muslims:
I along with 1.5 billion Muslims and true civilized people of the world condemn this spirit of savagery and denounce its great dangers for the humanity and ignition of the fire of great seditions, I warn the Pope and other Christian leaders that if such a gruesome and inhumane incident takes place in the U.S., we will hold the U.S. establishment and President Obama himself responsible and deserving to be put on trial. The pastor should be arrested immediately and his church should be shut down forever.
The cultural deputy of Iran's Armed Forces, Masud Jazayeri, said
that the U.S. government is behind the Koran burning, which he called an attempt by the U.S. to cover up its role in the September 2001 terrorist attacks.
Jazayeri said that "undeniable evidence" proves that the September 11 attacks were the work of "U.S. politicians and Zionist elements" and that as time goes by, the role of "U.S. state terrorism" becomes clearer, forcing the U.S. government to try to create marginal issues and distract public opinion to cover up "its crimes."
He said the planned Koran burning is a move in that direction, adding that humiliating Muslims is another goal of the Koran burning.
Iran's state-controlled television suggested
that U.S. officials have condemned the planned burning of the Koran "not out of respect for Islam and the holy book of the Muslims but because they want to prevent U.S. soldiers in the region from becoming targets of increased attacks."
is the reaction of blogger "Majma Divanegan" (Assembly of the Madmen or Lunatics) who writes that while Tehran seems to be outraged by the plans to burn the Koran, the rights of religious minorities, namely the Baha'is, are being violated in the Islamic Republic on a daily basis:
Every year, every day, every moment, Baha'is in Iran are being harassed. The pressure on the Baha'is goes beyond burning books. No one here is surprised by the burning of the holy books of the Baha'is. Here it is a question of their life and death. The issue is the destruction of their cemeteries -- it has been taking place for the past 30 years without any [justice]. It seems that both in Iran and in the United States, there is only one religion that should not be insulted, its book should not be burned, one should not draw the cartoon of its prophet and one is not even allowed to make a small joke about it otherwise the world will face deadly consequences.
-- Golnaz Esfandiari