Two Arrested In Iran Over Shoe Flung at President Rouhani

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

Two people were arrested in Iran after a shoe was thrown at President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday.

Rouhani was leaving the airport after returning from the U.S. when he had a landmark phone call with President Barack Obama.

Rouhani was greeted by hundreds of supporters as his motorcade left the airport. Dozens of young Islamists, however, gathered in protest chanting “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.”

As Rouhani stood out of the sunroof to acknowledge the crowd, a protester threw a shoe at him and missed.

“Two people have been arrested … Anyone not wearing a shoe should have been stopped, but in fact two people were arrested, and not by us,” deputy police chief Montazer-ol-Mehdi told the ISNA news agency. “An investigation has been launched.”

Rouhani spoke over the phone with Obama while he waiting at the airport on Friday. The pair were expected to make a historic handshake at the U.N. meeting, but the event never took place.

He said the phone call was Obama’s initiative. The direct talk was the first between the two nations in 30 years.

Both countries say they are working towards the nuclear disarmament of Iran and amicable relations lead many to believe sanctions imposed on the nation are soon to be removed.

Much of Iranian media were happy with Rouhani’s decision to speak with Obama, according to Raw Story. The ultra-conservative newspaper Kayhan and other hardliners were critical of the move.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also travelled to the United Nations meeting in New York this week. Zarif spoke directly for 30 minutes with Secretary of State John Kerry. Zarif said santions must be lifted in order to move forward.

“We need to agree to the parameters of the endgame for Iran’s nuclear program in one year,” Zarif said.

Zarif defended Rouhani’s phone call with Obama calling it “thorn in the eye to those who wish to harm Iran and Islam.”

“This is a good start to very challenging work that requires the support of everyone and the trust of the nation’s people in the country’s officials,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

Sources: AFP, Raw Story