In a move likely to irk tension between Iran and United States, a top Iranian military commander said on Saturday that nothing short of burning the White House and hanging American military commanders can compensate for the burning of Qurans at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan last week.
“The U.S. has committed such an ugly act and burnt Qurans because of the heavy slap it has been given by Islam,” commander of Iran’s Basij force, Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi told the semi-official Fars news agency.
U.S. President Barack Obama wrote a letter of apology to his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai on Thursday, in an effort to quell furor among Afghans who have been protesting for five days after charred remains of the Muslim holy book was found at the Bagram air base outside of Kabul.
However in response to Obama’s apology, Nagdi said “nothing but burning the White House can relieve the wound on us, the Muslims, caused by burning the Quran.”
“Their apology can be accepted only by hanging their commanders; hanging their commanders means an apology,” he added.
According to Fars, Nagdi stressed that Muslims can no longer give consent to U.S. apologies, since the Americans have made numerous mistakes in Afghanistan and continue to so only to then offer an apology and “this is simply not acceptable.”
Nagdi’s comments came after two U.S. military advisers took the death toll from raging anti-U.S. protests in Afghanistan to around 30.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for Saturday's shooting, saying it was in revenge for the burning of Qurans
Karzai issued a statement urging demonstrators and Afghan security forces to exercise restraint, saying the government was pressing Washington “on the need to bring to justice the perpetrators of the crime”.
On Friday, the prayer leader in Tehran said the burning of the Quran was intentional and proves American aggression towards Islam.
“Based on reports by reporters, this was an intentional move prompted by the hatred of American statement for Islam,” Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said.
“I announced with a loud voice, the world should know that the U.S. administration is hostile to Islam; Americans’ insult was not a mistake, rather deliberately because Washington rulers are hostile to Islam.”
On Saturday, Karzai issued a statement urging demonstrators and Afghan security forces to exercise restraint, saying the government was pressing Washington “on the need to bring to justice the perpetrators of the crime.”