Iran Criticizes Russian, British Ambassadors Over ‘Inappropriate’ WWII Memorial Photo

Iran has criticized the Russian and British ambassadors to Tehran after they posted a photo recreating a historic World War II meeting of allied leaders when Iran was under Soviet-Anglo occupation.

Iranian state media reported that the foreign ministry had “invited” the ambassadors to seek clarifications on the photo posted by the Russian Embassy on Twitter last Aug. 11.

The photo of Russian ambassador Levan Dzhagaryan and British ambassador Simon Shercliff showed them sitting on steps leading to the current Russian Embassy building with an empty chair between them.

The photo resembled the 1943 Tehran conference meeting between then-British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and then-Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin, with then-United States President Franklin Roosevelt sitting in the middle.

At that time, Russia and Britain had invaded Iran to secure oil fields and Russian supply lines.

Outgoing Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif described the photo as “extremely inappropriate.”

“Need I remind all that Aug. 2021 is neither Aug. 1941 nor Dec. 1943,” Zarif said on Twitter, referring to the beginning of the invasion and the Tehran conference, respectively.

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, the successor to Zarif, called the ambassadors’ action “non-diplomatic” and that it “has stifled public opinion in the Islamic Republic of Iran and shows the disregard for diplomatic etiquette and the national pride of the zealous people of Iran.”

“Quick correction of this error is necessary,” Zarif further said.

The Russian Embassy, however, claimed that the photo “does not have any anti-Iranian context.”

“We were not going to offend the feelings of the friendly Iranian people. The only meaning that this photo has to pay tribute to the joint efforts of the allied states against Nazism during the Second World War,” the Russian Embassy said on Twitter.

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