Outspoken MP Ali Motahari and a number of other Iranian political figures have criticized setting fire to a picture of the US flag and a copy of the nuclear agreement (JCPOA) at the Majles session on Wednesday May 9, the morning after US President Donald Trump announced the United States’ pullout from the nuclear deal with Iran.
Majles Speaker Ali Larijani did not object to hardline MP Mohsen Kouhkan’s controversial act, but tried to play it down by jokingly warning him not to set the Parliament ablaze.
Kouhkan said in his defense that it was an individual initiative and that he made the decision without coordinating with anyone else. “We should have shown our revolutionary anger to 40 years of US enmity against Iran,” further explaining that “I set fire to the US flag, because I was not able to find a photo of Trump.”
He said that some other MPs welcomed his move and chanted “death to America” while he was setting fire to the flag.
Motahari strongly condemned the act, saying setting fire to the flag, puts us face to face against the American people.
Reformist MP Mahmoud Sadeghi said in a tweet that he objected to Kouhkan’s act, but he was unable to do anything to stop it.
Another MP, Alireza Rahimi, who also tweeted about his opposition to Khoukan’s act, said “Islamic culture, as well as rationality and political logic rejects acts such as setting fire to the flag of other nations.”
Rahimi said in a tweet that the majority of MPs and the speaker of the Majles did not approve of the act and strongly rejected it.
Rahimi attributed this kind of controversial behavior to hardline figures who wish to undermine the Rouhani administration’s authority.
Centrist MP Fatemeh Saeedi, wrote in her twitter page that she believes setting fire to another country’s flag would not secure Iran’s national interests, adding, “Flags are symbols of nations and it is our responsibility to respect other nations.”
Meanwhile, political commentator Sadeq Zibakalam said sarcastically “the act of this revolutionary” showed that “trump did not get everything wrong,” adding that the MPs “showed a bit of Iranians’ rich culture and civilization.”
Reformist figure Mostafa Tajzadeh blamed those who benefit from sanctions as perpetrators of such controversial acts. He said these are the same individuals who call for “Rouhani’s resignation.”
In another development, a number of students linked to Baseej militia also set fire to a US flag and a copy of the JCPOA.
Following the US pullout, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has said that Iran will stay in the nuclear deal and will continue negotiations with Europe, China and Russia in order to secure Iran’s interests.
However, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has said that he does not trust Germany, France and the UK, and has called on the Rouhani administration to seek “practical guaranties” about their commitment to the JCPOA.