A photo of Ambassador Levan Dzagarjan posing with his British counterpart Simon Shercliff was posted on Twitter of the Russian Embassy. The publication sparked the anger of nearly all Iranian politicians, including outgoing Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. It reminded them of the British-Soviet invasion of World War II.
The photo posted on Twitter by the Russian embassy on Wednesday shows Ambassador Levan Dzagarjan posing with his British counterpart Simon Shercliff on the steps of a Russian outpost in the Iranian capital. According to the AFP agency, the publication of the photo caused the anger of almost all Iranian politicians, including the outgoing foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Iranian diplomats’ reaction to the photo of the Russian and British ambassadors
“I saw an extremely inappropriate photo today. The Iranian people have already demonstrated that their fate can never be decided by foreign embassies or foreign forces,” Zarif wrote on Twitter.
Hossein Amir Abdollahian, who will replace Zarif at the helm of Iranian diplomacy, has accused Russian and British diplomats on Twitter of “humiliating public opinion in the Islamic Republic.”
On Thursday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry said it had “invited” ambassadors Jagarjan and Shercliff to “clarify” the photo. According to the ministry, the Russian ambassador has already expressed “regret” about the misunderstanding caused by the photo, while the Russian embassy in Tehran tweeted that the photo was not supposed to offend the Iranians.
“Given the ambiguous reactions to our photo, we want to note that it has no anti-Iranian context,” wrote the Russian Embassy. “Iran is our friend and neighbor and we will continue to strengthen our relationship based on mutual respect,” added the post.
Associations with the British-Soviet intervention in Iran
The British-Soviet intervention on neutral Iran began on August 25, 1941 under the code name Operation Y. Its purpose was to seize access to Iran’s oil fields and the possibility of delivering war material to the USSR.
There was an occupation of Iran, during which there were many mass seizures of Iranian food supplies, resulting in famine and deaths among the civilian population. British troops withdrew from Iran after the end of World War II, while the Russians left in 1946.
Main photo source: Twitter / RusEmbIran