Iran Warns France About ‘Insulting’ Khamenei Cartoons

Iran Warns France About ‘Insulting’ Khamenei Cartoons

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Iran warned France on Wednesday of consequences after satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo published cartoons depicting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that Tehran deemed offensive.

The weekly magazine had published dozens of cartoons mocking the Islamic Republic’s top religious and political figure as part of a contest that began in December in support of the three-month-old protest movement in Iran.

“The insulting and indecent act of a French publication in publishing cartoons against religious and political authority will not go without an effective and decisive response,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian wrote on Twitter.

“We will not allow the French government to go beyond its limits. They have definitely chosen the wrong path,” he added, without specifying the consequences.

Later on Wednesday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry said it had summoned French Ambassador Nicolas Roche.

“France has no right to insult the sanctity of other Muslim countries and nations under the pretext of freedom of expression,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani.

“Iran awaits the French government’s explanation and compensatory action to condemn the unacceptable behavior of the French publication,” he added.

Seen by supporters as a champion of free speech and by critics as unnecessarily provocative, Charlie Hebdo’s style is controversial, even within France.

But the country was united in grief when in January 2015 it was targeted in a deadly attack by Islamist gunmen who claimed revenge for the magazine’s decision to publish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

FILE – A woman picks up a copy of the weekly French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo at a newsstand on February 25, 2015, in Lille.

‘Not the last word’

The issue in the latest controversy contained a series of sexual images depicting Khamenei and fellow clerics. Other cartoons showed the authorities using the death penalty as a tactic to quell protests.

“It was a way to show our support for the Iranian men and women who are risking their lives to defend their freedom against the theocracy that has oppressed them since 1979,” Charlie Hebdo director Laurent Sourisseau wrote in an editorial. known as Riss.

All the published cartoons “have the merit of challenging the authority that claims to be the supreme leader, as well as his band of servants and other successors,” he added.

Nathalie Loiseau, a French member of the European Parliament and former minister loyal to President Emmanuel Macron, described Iran’s response as an “attempted intervention and threat” to Charlie Hebdo.

“Let it be perfectly clear: the repressive and theocratic regime in Tehran has nothing to teach France,” she said.

Khamenei, the successor of revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, is appointed for life. Above everyday politics, criticism of him is forbidden inside Iran.

Khomeini in 1989 famously issued a religious decree, or fatwa, ordering Muslims to kill British author Salman Rushdie for what he considered the blasphemous nature of Rushdie’s Satanic Verses.

Many activists blamed Iran last year when the writer was stabbed at an event in New York, but Tehran denied any connection.

The Iranian regime has been rocked by three months of protests sparked by the September 16 death in custody of Mahsa Amini, an Iranian Kurd who was arrested for violating the country’s strict dress code for women.

It has responded with a crackdown that the Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights said has killed at least 476 people in the protests, which Iranian officials generally describe as “riots.”

Charlie Hebdo published the cartoons in a special edition to mark the anniversary of the deadly attack on its Paris office, which left 12 people dead, including some of its most famous cartoonists.

“Eight years later, religious intolerance has not had its last word,” said its director. “It continues its work in defiance of international protests and respect for the most basic human rights.”

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