First Published: 2003-11-11

Iran: Powell knows nothing about Islam

Asefi says US officials' comments on Islam clearly prove they do know nothing about Islam, Muslims.


Middle East Online

A furious response to Powell's criticism

TEHRAN - The United States administration knows nothing about Islam or democracy, Iran's foreign ministry said Tuesday in a furious response to an attack by US Secretary of State Colin Powell on the Islamic republic's ruling clerics.

"The various comments made by the US officials on Islam and Muslims clearly prove they do not know Islam and Muslims, just as they do not know Iraq, the Middle East and democracy," spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told the state news agency IRNA.

On Monday, Powell delivered a surprisingly sharp attack on Iran's religious leadership, who he said were guilty of having "dragged the sacred garments of Islam into the political gutter".

"With these sort of comments they are disgracing themselves," Asefi responded, saying the Islamic republic "strongly condemns this open intervention in Iran's internal affairs."

"It is astonishing that the current US administration, which came into power through a tampered election, keeps on talking about democracy," the spokesman added in a jibe at the disputed presidential election that brought US President George W. Bush into office.

Less than a week ago, Bush called on Iran to embrace democracy, in comments that were also angrily condemned here in what has been a mounting rhetorical slanging match between the two old enemies.

Among other things, Iran has also been accused by Washington of harbouring fugitive members of the al-Qaeda terror network, undermining the Middle East peace process, hampering post-war security in Iraq and Afghanistan and using an atomic energy programme as a cover for a secret bid to develop nuclear weapons.

Diplomatic ties were suspended between Washington and Tehran after Islamist students stormed the US embassy in the Iranian capital on November 4, 1979, in the wake of the Islamic revolution, and held its staff hostage there for 444 days.

Habitual chants of "Death to America" are still heard in Iran, where hardliners still refer to the United States as the "Great Satan".


Nobel Peace Prize goes to Tunisian democracy group

UN envoy proposes Libya unity government led by Sarraj

Iran Revolutionary Guards commander killed in Syria

IS militants advance on Syria's Aleppo

Russian volunteers fighting for Assad regime

UN chief hails Tunisian Nobel Peace Prize

Israeli troops kill 4 near Gaza border as Hamas praises 'Jerusalem intifada'

US to 'refocus' failed Syrian rebel training programme

France carries out second wave of strikes on IS targets in Syria

Jew stabs four Arabs in southern Israel

At least 13 killed in Yemen wedding bombing

Three more stabbing attacks as Palestine-Israel violence continues

Violence in Jerusalem continues

Turkey gives EU's migrant plan offer lukewarm reception

Erdogan uses nuclear, gas deals to pressure Russia over Syria

HRW urges statement from West over imprisoned Bahrain dissidents

EU aim to have migrant 'hotspots' ready by end of November ‘unrealistic’

Israeli PM bars ministers from Al-Aqsa compound

US has not yet made decision on Syria no-fly zone

After nuclear deal, Iran takes central role to end Syria war

Escape or temporary move: Erdogan son settles in Italy

ISIS attack complicates task for Arab coalition in Yemen

Syria army launches broad ground operation in Hama province

Israel-Palestinian unrest at risk of turning into religious war

Number of confirmed cholera cases rises to 1,200 in Iraq

Russia ‘ready’ to establish contacts with Free Syrian Army

Turkey arrests six people over 'minting coins for ISIS’

US insists no military cooperation with Russia in Syria conflict

Russia warships fire cruise missiles to back Syria army operation

New violence rocks Israel, West Bank

Mortar attack wounds Lebanon soldiers near border with Syria

Iraq forces recapture several areas around Ramadi

Saleh’s party ‘ready’ for UN-brokered Yemen peace

Erdogan’s vision of Syria’s future torn up by Putin

IS bombings will not deter Yemen govt from staying in Aden

EU to ease Turkey migrant burden on conditions

EU kicks off military operation against ‘mafia of the sea’

Russia air strikes targeting Chechen jihadists in Syria

Russia examining US proposals to coordinate Syria strikes

Russia hints at willingness on Syria 'deconfliction' with US

France may strip five terrorists of nationality

Israel demolition policy: Collective punishment in violation of international law

Violence in Yemen may trigger world's next great refugee crisis

EU to 'step up' work on resettlement of refugees from Turkey

Tunisia dismantles three ISIS recruitment cells