February 18, 2008 / 1:40 PM / 10 years ago

Iran MPs want action on Dutch, Danes over cartoon

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iranian lawmakers have urged the president to review ties with Denmark and the Netherlands over the reprinting of a satirical cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad in Danish and Dutch newspapers, Iranian media said on Monday.

A Palestinian boy walks past a Denmark flag before it is burned during a protest in Gaza February 18, 2008. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

Protests and rioting erupted in 2006 in Muslim countries around the world when the cartoons, one showing the Prophet with a turban resembling a bomb, first appeared in a Danish daily. At least 50 people were killed and three Danish embassies attacked.

Most Muslims consider depictions of the Prophet Mohammad offensive.

Danish newspapers reprinted one of the drawings last week in protest against what they said was a plot to murder the cartoonist who drew it. At least two Dutch newspapers published pictures of the Danish newspapers, with the cartoon visible.

Palestinians burn a flag of Denmark during a protest in Gaza February 18, 2008. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

In a letter to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, some 215 MPs in Iran’s 290-seat assembly said Iran should review trade and political links with Denmark and the Netherlands to respond to “an anti-Islamic and Islamophobic current” in the two countries.

“We, representatives of the honorable Iranian nation, condemn this devil measure. We ask the president ... to seriously review Iran’s political and trade ties with these countries,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter, state radio said.

Iran has also urged the Netherlands to prevent the screening of a film in which a right-wing populist lawmaker plans to lay out his view of Islam’s holy book, the Koran. Comments by the Dutch MP about the Koran were condemned by Iran last year.

In the Gaza Strip, controlled by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, a leader of a militants’ umbrella group called on Muslim faithful to attack Danish embassies and diplomats.

“Blow up the Danish embassies and kill the ambassadors,” Abu Abir, spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), said at a news conference in a Gaza square, where PRC members burnt a Danish flag.

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“We urge (Islamist fighters) to track down those who printed the cartoons, those who drew them and those who published them and slaughter them immediately,” he said.

Danish police arrested two Tunisians and a Dane of Moroccan descent last Tuesday, accusing them of planning to kill a cartoonist who drew one of the images.

Dozens of Islamist students burned the Danish flag in southern Pakistan on Thursday, while in Kuwait, several parliamentarians called for a boycott of Danish goods.

On Saturday, two days before their planned departure, 10 Danish lawmakers aborted a trip to Iran. The Danish Foreign Ministry said the scheduled visit was cancelled after Iran’s parliament demanded an apology over the cartoon.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry has also summoned the Danish envoy in Tehran to protest.

Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Charles Dick

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