• Wednesday, March 22, 2023


Irked by its president’s photo in women protest video, Iran scraps finance minister’s visit to India: report

Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian (Photo by ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

An upset Iran decided against sending its foreign minister to India next month after an ultra-short video showing women from the West Asian nation cutting their hair in protest, juxtaposed with a picture of Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi went in circulation as part of a promotional video for an upcoming event in New Delhi.

The Indian Express daily reported it saying Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian was set to visit India for the Raisina Dialogue, a flagship think-tank programme organised by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) in partnership with India’s ministry of external affairs (MEA), in the Indian capital on March 3 and 4.

But things went awry after the promotional video was released about a month ago to announce the upcoming edition of the event. The sight of the Iranian women protesting by cutting their hair along with the Iranian president irked the Iranian embassy which was preparing for the diplomat’s visit.

The daily cited sources saying that the embassy approached the ORF and MEA to express its disappointment over the portrayal of the protesters and the Iranian president together and asked them to delete the sequence. The organisers didn’t agree.

Protests have rocked Iran since September last year after Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman, was taken into custody by the country’s mortality police for wearing a headscarf that the authorities felt was “inappropriate”. She died later, triggering massive demonstrations as it was alleged that she was subjected to custodial violence.

Tehran denied the allegations and said her death was caused by illness.

New Delhi, which has a significant relationship with Tehran over oil, energy, and diplomacy, has been silent on the protests. Last November, it abstained on a resolution adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council to form a fact-finding mission into the alleged instances of human-rights violations in the West Asian nation.

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