Major-General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, recently criticised French President Emmanuel Macron over the latter's support for the cartoons depicting the Islamic prophet Muhammad, Tasnim News Agency reports.
According to the media outlet, Bagheri has denounced the "anti-human rights comments" made by Macron, and called upon "world intellectuals and elites" to advise the French authorities to "avoid playing with the sentiments of more than 1.5 billion Muslims" and to stop such a "dangerous game".
The Major-General also reportedly described as “surprising” the fact that the ones attempting to "attribute the brutal terrorist activities to Islam" are the western governments, including France, who have "given birth" to "terrorist groups such as Daesh*".
At the same time, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has also denounced Macron for “insulting Muslims and their faith", arguing that such behaviour only fuels extremism.
On 21 October, Macron delivered a speech during a commemoration ceremony for Samuel Paty, a French history teacher who was murdered by a radicalised teenager after Paty displayed in class cartoons depicting the Islamic prophet Muhammad.
The French head of state described Islam as "a religion that is in crisis all over the world today" and promised new legislation that would create "enlightened Islam" in the country.
*Daesh (ISIS/ISIL) is a terrorist group outlawed in Russia and a number of other countries.