Viewing cable 06VILNIUS136
Title: IRAN PROTESTS LITHUANIA'S REPRINTING OF MUHAMMAD

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
06VILNIUS1362006-02-10 16:33:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vilnius
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L VILNIUS 000136 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/NB AND NEA/ARPI 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/09/2016 
TAGS: PREL MOPS PHUM IR LH
SUBJECT: IRAN PROTESTS LITHUANIA'S REPRINTING OF MUHAMMAD 
CARTOONS 
 
 
Classified By: Pol/Econ Officer Christian Yarnell 
for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 
 
 ¶1. (SBU) The Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs received 
a diplomatic note from Iran on February 9 protesting the 
publication in the Lithuanian press of cartoons featuring the 
Prophet Muhammad.  On February 8, Lithuania's infamous daily 
"Respublika," which has repeatedly printed hateful cartoons 
mocking Jews and homosexuals, reprinted the cartoons 
featuring Muhammad that have appeared elsewhere in Europe. 
The Iranian note protested that "freedom of the press should 
not be used as a pretext to insult other religions' faiths." 
MFA Political and EU Department Director Zygimantas 
Pavilionis told the Ambassador February 9 that the GOL is 
worried, citing reports that there is a bounty on all 
newspapers that have printed the cartoons.  He expressed fear 
that "Respublika's" publisher had placed Lithuania in the 
crosshairs of fanatics who may seek to claim the bounty, but 
added that the GOL has no specific threat information 
indicating that its territory could become a target. 
 
¶2. (SBU) Vaclovas Salkauskas, head of the MFA's Africa and 
Middle East Division, informed us that the MFA will release a 
public statement rather than provide a written reply to the 
Iranians.  The response stated that the MFA "expresses its 
respect for the religious beliefs of every individual, but 
disapproves of any action against freedom of the press, and 
therefore rejects charges against Lithuania." 
 
¶3. (U) The Lithuanian MFA had on February 6 "strongly 
condemn(ed) the acts of vandalism against Danish and other 
states' diplomatic representation in Syria and Lebanon." 
President Valdas Adamkus and Prime Minister Algirdas 
Brazauskas have spoken out against the violence, while also 
calling for media outlets to show more tolerance towards all 
religious groups.  Lithuanian law enforcement institutions 
are exploring whether "Respublika's" reprinting of the 
cartoons may have violated laws prohibiting hate speech. 
 
¶4. (C) The MFA and State Security Department convened a 
meeting on February 9 to discuss homeland security and the 
safety of Lithuanian citizens abroad in the wake of the 
recent violence.  Approximately 50 Lithuanian troops serve 
under Danish command in Iraq, while a 10-man team of Danish 
soldiers is operating in the Lithuanian-led PRT in 
Afghanistan.  High-ranking Lithuanian military officials Rear 
Admiral Maciajauskas (Navy Commander) and Brigadier General 
Pocius (Land Forces Commander) have expressed concerns to us 
that the reprinting of the cartoons in Lithuania may endanger 
their troops currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. 
MULL