Iran protests publication of Swedish caricature on Prophet Mohammed
Iran has protested against a publication of a caricature depicting the Prophet Mohammed as a dog, a Swedish foreign ministry spokeswoman said Tuesday. In the absence of Swedish ambassador to Tehran, the caretaker of the embassy Gunilla von Bahr was summoned to Iran's Foreign Ministry on Monday.
According to the Information and Press Bureau of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Director General for Central and North Europe at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ali Baqeri "strongly condemned printing of a blasphemous photo of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) in a Swedish daily and described it as an sacrilege to religious sentiments of over one billion Muslims throughout the world."
Referring to freedom of press and media, he said such a freedom should not lead to blasphemous acts against followers of other religions.
"The act might be masterminded by some groups who seek to mar ties between Sweden and other Muslim states," the Iranian was quoted as saying said.
On her part, the Swedish spokeswoman Sofia Karlberg said the Swedish government had no further comment.
The caricature, published August 19 in the regional newspaper Nerikes Allehanda, shows the prophet's head on a dog's body. According to dpa, the cartoon by artist Lars Vilks has earlier triggered protests by Islamic groups and others in Sweden and was withdrawn from an art exhibition.
The editor of Nerikes Allehanda Ulf Johansson defended his decision to publish the cartoon along with an article on freedom of speech and self-censorship.