Iran Foreign Minister Cancels Visit after New Delhi Declines to Edit Event Promo Video: Report

Edited By: Shankhyaneel Sarkar

Last Updated: February 17, 2023, 10:52 IST

Tehran wanted the organisers of Raisina Dialogue to remove this sequence from the events promotional video (Image: YouTube/ORF)

Tehran demanded removal of the sequence in Raisina Dialogue’s promo video which shows Iranian women cutting their hair in protest, juxtaposed Iran Prez Ebrahim Raisi’s photo

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian cancelled his visit to New Delhi, scheduled for next month, after Tehran said it was upset over Observer Research Foundation’s (ORF) promotional video of the Raisina Dialogue, its flagship think-tank event, the Indian Express reported.

The video has a two-second shot of Iranian women cutting their hair in protest juxtaposed with an image of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi which angered the Iranian embassy.

The Iranian authorities asked the ORF and Union ministry of external affairs (MEA) – which also organises the Raisina Dialogue in partnership with ORF – to remove the sequence in question from the video, but the organisers did not oblige, the Indian Express said in its report.

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian was due to travel to India for the Raisina dialogue scheduled for March 3 and 4. The frame of the Iranian women and Raisi appears just under two minutes into the promotional video for two seconds.

The Iranian government informed Indian counterparts that Amir-Abdollahian will not be travelling to India for the Raisina Dialogue.

The Indian Express report also pointed out that India has so far refrained from commenting on the protests that erupted in Iran following the alleged custodial death of Mahsa Amini – a 20-year-old Kurdish woman who was beaten to death for not wearing the headscarf properly by Iran’s morality police aka Gasht-e-Ershad.

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The protests carried on until December and the Iranian youth remains angered also over the executions and arrests made in the aftermath of the protests.

Iran’s dress code requires women to cover their hair, irrespective of nationality or religion.

Following the protests, Iran cracked down on protesters and made some high-profile arrests which earned widespread condemnation from the West.

India, however, at the UN, refrained from commenting on the protests and also abstained on a resolution adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). The resolution, sponsored by Germany and the Netherlands, wanted to set up a fact-finding mission into alleged human rights violations in Iran committed by the authorities in order to quell the protests.

The resolution at the UNHRC was passed, with 25 votes in favour, seven against and 16 abstentions, during a special meeting of the 47-member human rights body.

India and Iran have a long history of cooperation which also contained episodes of diplomatic ups and downs.

India remains involved in developing the Chabahar port project that enables connectivity to Afghanistan and Central Asia. The Iranian envoy to India Iraj Elahi on February 10 said the port was a “Golden Gateway” and added that India is most important to Iran.

Both countries also shared concerns over Taliban-ruled Afghanistan and are trying to take trade between both nations to earlier levels after it faced difficulties due to the threat of sanctions during the Trump administration.

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