Iran condemns the Boston bombing, with a caveat

April 17, 2013

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast. (Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)

Iran's foreign ministry has issued a statement condemning the attack at the Boston marathon and expressing sympathy for the victims. But the statement, made by spokesperson Ramin Mehmanparast, also used the bombing to reiterate a political point that Iran has been making to the U.S. for months.

The foreign ministry statement, translated by Arash Karami of Al-Monitor, pivoted quickly and a little awkwardly from condemning the Boston bombing to asking the U.S. government to reclassify the People's Mujahedin of Iran (MEK) as a terrorist group.

The U.S. recently removed the MEK from its official list of terrorist organizations, allowing the group to open a lobbying office in the District and angering Iran, which considers MEK a terrorist group for its campaign of bombings and assassinations in the 1970s and '80s. The Iranian government has long urged the U.S. not to alter its terrorist classification of MEK.

"I believe that all governments should work to establish peace and security for all people of the world. The roots of these extremist and terrorist acts must be dried, and by no means should any type of violence be justified," Mehmanparast said, at first referring to Boston but later building to the U.S. decision to remove MEK from its official terror list. "Giving permission for terrorist groups to operate and removing them from the terrorist list under the excuse of freedom will ultimately lead to instability and will affect all of the people," he said.

He went on, "as we know, terrorists and extremists cause harm to everyone, and by no means should anyone justify supporting them whether in the Middle East, America or any point in the world. We believe that the freedom to operate politically should not be a threat to innocent and ordinary lives.”

It's hard to imagine that the U.S. State Department will be particularly receptive to this sort of argument.

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