Paris has made a faux pas by allowing satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo to publish derisive cartoons of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Tehran says.
On Wednesday, January 4th, its Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian tweeted: “The insulting and indecent act of a French publication in publishing cartoons against religious and political authority will not go without a decisive and effective response.” Amirabdollahian wrote, “We will not allow the French government to [further] cross the line,” and chastised it for having “definitely chosen the wrong path,” adding that earlier, Charlie Hebdo had already been included in Tehran’s sanctions list.
On December 12th, Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs imposed sanctions on dozens of EU and British officials and entities for their support and, according to Tehran, instigation of riots in Iran. Five media outlets were among those under sanctions, including Charlie Hebdo, Radio Farda—the Persian-language service of the U.S.-government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty—and Amsterdam-based and Persian-language Radio Zamaneh.
Tehran’s outcry comes on the same day that Charlie Hebdo published dozens of cartoons that depicted Khamenei being stoned by naked women, strung up with the hair of non-veiled women, among various other revanchist fantasies.
The cartoons had been selected through a contest that the publication launched last month. It specifically called for cartoonists to send in their “funniest and nastiest cartoon of Ali Khamenei.”
These were intended to serve as a tribute to the Iranian women who have been protesting their government’s strict dress code, following the suspicious death of the 22-year-old Mahsa Amini last September; she had been picked up by the country’s morality police for failing to adhere to it and passed away while under their care.
The cartoons are featured in a special edition marking the anniversary of the Islamist attack Charlie Hebdo’s Paris office suffered on January 7th, 2015. During the event, 12 people lost their lives.
The newspaper was targeted for having published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, an act considered blasphemous by Muslims, whose religion forbids any depiction of him—respectful or otherwise.
Meanwhile, Iranian media reports that Nicolas Roche, the French ambassador to Iran, has been made aware of Tehran’s “strong protest” to the “disrespectful acts of French journals insulting Muslim sanctities, and religious besides national values.”
In his message, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nasser Kanaani stresses that France “has no right to justify insulting the sanctities of other Muslim countries and nations under the pretext of freedom of speech.”
Referring to Charlie Hebdo specifically, with its “black history” in “insulting the holy Prophet Muhammad,” he noted that the Islamic Republic of Iran is considering “the responsibilities arising from this despicable, offensive, and unjustifiable act to the French government.”
He went on to reiterate that Iran “reserves the right to respond proportionately,” and that Tehran is “awaiting an explanation and compensatory action by the French government in condemning the unacceptable behavior of the French journal.” Reportedly, the French ambassador promised to convey Iran’s message to Paris as soon as possible.
The French Foreign Ministry has not yet issued a comment on the matter.