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Iran summons Swiss ambassador over minarets

Switzerland’s ambassador to Iran was summoned to the foreign ministry in Tehran on Saturday to hear of Iran’s indignation at the minaret ban.

The Iranian news agency said Silvia Leu Agosti was told that such a decision “increased tension between Islam and Christianity”.

The Iranian foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, also telephoned his Swiss counterpart, Micheline Calmy-Rey, and told her that such a vote should never be allowed in a country which claims to respect democracy and human rights.

He said the ban on the construction of minarets had damaged Switzerland’s reputation as a progressive country throughout the Islamic world.

The Swiss foreign ministry confirmed that a conversation had taken place between the two ministers, the AP news agency reported on Saturday.

The Swiss side explained the workings of direct democracy, and said the decision had been taken democratically and would therefore be respected. At the same time, it was pointed out that Muslims in Switzerland could continue to practise their religion as before, the ministry said.

In a popular vote on November 29, Swiss voter approved a call to add a line to the constitution stating that the construction of minarets is forbidden.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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