Baku, Azerbaijan, Mar. 18
By Fatih Karimov - Trend:
Ali Younesi, who serves as Iranian president Hassan Rouhani's special aide for the affairs of ethnic groups and religious minorities, was summoned to court to clarify his recent comments about Iraq, Iran's Fars news agency reported on March 18.
Last week Younesi said that "Iraq is not only within the area of Iran's civilization, it is also Iran's identity, culture and capital and this is true now as it was in the past," while addressing a forum on Iran's ethnic identity.
"The geography of Iran and Iraq cannot be divided," said Younesi, speaking at a Tehran forum titled "Iran: nationality, history and culture."
He also claimed that people now living in neighboring countries are also Iranian because their countries were separated from the "great Iran's" east and west.
Younesi's statements, which clearly contradict the country's Islamic-based ongoing foreign policy, raised serious concerns among region's Arab countries, as well as Iranian conservatives and the country's ethnic minorities.
His words sparked serious criticism from the Arab-language media, which are concerned about Iran's increasing influence in the region.
Iraq's foreign minister also protested the issue, according to Iranian media outlets.