Iran summons French ambassador over ‘disgusting’ cartoons

Lazy eyes listen


The Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned France’s ambassador to the country in response to cartoons in a French magazine that mocked both the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and the country’s religious practices. Though the ministry did not name the publication, it appears to be referring to Charlie Hebdo, which is well-known for its satirical attacks on Islam.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said in a statement on Wednesday that Ambassador Nicolas Roche had been summoned and that a “strong protest” had been lodged with the French government. He went on to say that Tehran would not “accept any insult to Islamic, national, or religious values.”

France has no right to “justify insult to the sanctities of other nations and Islamic countries under the guise of freedom of expression,” he said, adding that Iran holds the French government accountable for such “disgusting, sacrilegious, and unjustified moves.”

Kanaani stated that Iran reserves the right to respond “appropriately,” while handing the French ambassador an official protest note. According to the statement, Roche stated that he would convey Tehran’s position to Paris.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry also announced on Thursday that it would review the country’s existing cultural ties with France. It stated that the “first step” would be to halt the activities of the French Institute for Research in Iran, a Tehran-based institution specializing in archeological and historical studies.

The diplomatic reprimand comes after Charlie Hebdo published dozens of caricatures of Khamenei on Wednesday as part of a contest launched by the magazine last month to “support the struggle of Iranians fighting for their freedom.”

The publication also coincides with the one-year anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, which killed 12 people. After publishing controversial satirical cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, the magazine was targeted.

Iran imposed a slew of sanctions on European individuals and entities, including Charlie Hebdo, in December, claiming they had interfered in the country’s internal affairs and supported the recent violent riots over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.

Amini was arrested by Iran’s moral police for wearing a “improper” hijab and died hours later. Her family claims she was beaten to death in custody, while Iranian authorities claim she died as a result of a medical condition.