Iran’s government has vowed to “track down” and prosecute those responsible for making the anti-Islamic amateur film that mocked the Prophet Mohammed, according to a senior official and Iranian media.
The announcement was made on Monday over the video, which was made in California and posted on YouTube, reports Reuters. The offensive film portrayed the Prophet Mohammed as both a womanizer and a fool.
Since its discovery, the film has ignited a week of violent protests across the Muslim world, which have injured dozens and killed at least five people (including a US Ambassador). First Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi stated:
“The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran condemns … this inappropriate and offensive action. Certainly it will search for, track, and pursue this guilty person who … has insulted 1.5 billion Muslims in the world.”
Iranian officials have also demanded that the United States apologize to Muslims for the movie, which they added is just the latest in a series of Western insults aimed at Islam’s holy figures. The Telegraph notes that Rahimi did not detail how Iran plans on pursuing the makers of the offensive film.
Christopher Stevens (the US Ambassador to Libya) and three other Americans were killed in Benghazi, Libya a week ago after protesters stormed the US consulate in the area. While the identity of those responsible for the film is not clear, clips of the film posted online since July attribute its maker as Sam Bacil, although two people linked to the film believe that name is an alias.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a Coptic Christian, has also been widely linked to the film in media reports. Nakoula was voluntarily questioned by US authorities on Saturday as they investigated possible violations of his probation for a bank fraud conviction.
This is not the first time that a leader of Iran has vowed to prosecute or condemned someone to death for blaspheming the Prophet Mohammed. The Islamic Republic’s founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, condemned Indian-born British novelist Salman Rushdie to death in 1989 for his novel The Satanic Verses, because Khomeini believes Rushdie’s depiction of the Prophet Mohammed was blasphemous.
An Iranian religious foundation added on Saturday that it would increase the reward for Rushdie’s murder to $3.3 million, despite the fact that he had nothing to do with the offensive movie.