An Iranian commander has added his voice to the condemnation of the U.S. military actions in burning copies of the Quran in Afghanistan.
Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi, Commander of Iran's Basij force, said "Nothing but burning the White House can relieve the wound of us, the Muslims, caused by the Burning of Quran in the US. Their apology can be accepted only by hanging their commanders; hanging their commanders means an apology" FARS Iranian news agency reported.
The commander attributed the real reason for the burning of the Quran to "the heavy slap it (U.S.) has been given by Islam." He also stressed that U.S. apologies cannot be accepted by Muslims as it makes so many mistakes.
According to Alarabiya, Friday's prayer leader in Tehran, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, told worshippers the U.S. burning of the Quran was intentional. He said "Based on reports by reporters, this was an intentional move prompted by the hatred of American statement for Islam. I announced with a loud voice, the world should know that the U.S. administration is hostile to Islam; Americans’ insult was not a mistake, rather deliberately because Washington rulers are hostile to Islam.”
Gen. John Allen, commander of ISAF and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, has called for calm in the midst of violent protests against the U.S. military, as he urged "Now is not the time for vengeance." CNN reported he called on troops to "show the Afghan people that as bad as that act was at Bagram, it was unintentional, and Americans and ISAF soldiers do not stand for this. We stand for something greater than that."
The words of the two influential Iranians, the military commander Naqdi and Ayatollah Khatami, adds to the rhetoric that constantly emanates from Iran in calls for death to Americans, often amounting to little more than an expected formula position.
Meanwhile in Afghanistan itself, the Los Angeles Times reports that the perception amongst educated Afghans is that the situation over the Quran burning incident has been exploited. Moderate Afghan Muslim Hamed Saboori said "there are elements that want to take advantage of this irresponsible act. The whole issue has been manipulated."