Tehran on Thursday said that Israel was behind the plan by a United States pastor to burn copies of the Koran on the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the official news agency IRNA reported.
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"The software for this plan was made by the Zionists following their defeats against Muslims and the Islamic world," Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said in a meeting with foreign diplomats in Tehran.
Terry Jones, who leads an evangelical congregation of just 50 people at the Dove World Outreach Centre in Gainesville, Florida, declared this coming Saturday "International Burn a Koran Day."
Mottaki also blamed former U.S. President George W. Bush, saying Bush's religious rhetoric after the September 11 attacks led to Islamophobia in the U.S.
"The current U.S. administration should fulfill its duties in guaranteeing the basic rights of American Muslims for avoiding the spread of such inappropriate and devilish moves," Mottaki said.
Ayatollah Safi Golpaygani, one of the senior clergy figures in Iran, on Wednesday harshly condemned the Koran-burning plan and called on the U.S. administration to arrest Terry Jones.
He further warned that if such a "gruesome and inhuman act" took place, Muslims would hold the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama responsible.
The ayatollah further said that desecrating the Koran would not only insult Muslims worldwide, but also the followers of Jesus Christ, his mother Mary and the prophet Moses.