Following the publication of cartoons depicting Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian tweeted:
“The insulting and indecent act of a French publication in publishing cartoons against the religious and political authority will not go without an effective and decisive response. We will not allow the French government to go beyond its bounds. They have definitely chosen the wrong path.”
On Thursday Iran closed a Tehran-based French research institute in protest against the cartoons, according to press agency AFP.
Reuters also reported that Iranian authorities summoned France’s envoy in Tehran to protest against the cartoon.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran does not accept insulting its Islamic, religious, and national sanctities and values in any way,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani told the French envoy on Wednesday, according to state TV.
Reacting to the events in an interview with French news broadcaster LCI on Thursday, Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna dismissed the Iranian demands, stating that freedom of the press rules in France and pointing out that Iran should first look at what is going on at home before criticizing French journalists.
Series of cartoons ridicules Iranian rulers
The weekly published dozens of cartoons Wednesday ridiculing the top religious and political figure in Iran.
In December, the magazine launched a caricature competition, following months of protests triggered by the September 16 death in custody of Jina Mahsa Amini, an Iranian Kurd who was arrested for allegedly violating the country’s strict dress code for women.
According to the magazine, the contest would “support the struggle of Iranians who are fighting for their freedom.”
The cover of the magazine reads, “mullahs, go back where you came from” with a drawing of small men marching into the vulva of a naked woman.
Iranian authorities have described the protests as “riots” and say hundreds of people, including members of the security forces, have been killed and thousands of civilians have been arrested. The government has alleged that hostile foreign powers and opposition groups are stoking the unrest.
Charlie Hebdo published the caricatures in a special edition to mark the anniversary of a deadly attack on its Paris office on January 7, 2015, by assailants who said they were acting on behalf of al-Qaida to avenge the magazine’s decision to publish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.