Iran's theocratic regime closed a Tehran-based French institute while its Foreign Ministry summoned the French ambassador on Wednesday in protest of the publication of caricatures of the country's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
The magazine has a long history of publishing vulgar cartoons that mock Islam and are considered deeply insulting to Muslims. In 2015, two French-born al-Qaida terrorists attacked the newspaper's office, killing 12 people.
The latest issue of the magazine features the winners of a cartoon contest that asked participants to draw the most offensive caricatures of Khamenei, who has been in office since 1989.
“France has no right to insult the sanctities of other Muslim countries and nations under the pretext of freedom of expression,” said Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Nasser Kanani. “Iran is waiting for the French government’s explanation and compensatory action in condemning the unacceptable behavior of the French publication.”
Meanwhile, the regime's 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.”
The contest was advertised as a show of support for the wave of recent anti-government protests against the country's religious regime. Some of the finalist caricatures depicted violent or sexual imagery.