Iran summons French envoy over ‘insulting’ Charlie Hebdo cartoons
Iran’s foreign ministry on Wednesday summoned the French ambassador in Tehran to protest the insulting act by the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in publishing caricatures of the country’s top religious authority.
In a statement, the ministry announced that it summoned the French envoy Nicolas Roche on Wednesday afternoon over the insults.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran brooks by no means any insults to its sanctities, and Islamic, religious, and national values,” foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kan’ani told the French ambassador in the meeting, according to the statement.
“France has no right to justify insults to other countries’ and Muslim nations’ sanctities under the pretext of freedom of expression,” he noted, voicing Iran’s “strong protest” to the French government.
The condemnation comes as Charlie Hebdo is set to publish several insulting cartoons of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei in a special issue later this week. The controversial right-wing magazine had in early December announced a competition for producing the cartoons.
Referring to the “dark history” of the French publication in insulting Islam, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and the Holy Quran, the spokesman stressed that the French government bears the responsibility for this “hateful, insulting and unjustified” action.
Tehran reserves the right to give a “proportionate response,” he said, while also handing over the Foreign Ministry’s official note of protest to the French envoy.
The Islamic Republic of Iran expects the French government to provide explanations and take action in condemning the publication’s “unacceptable behavior,” he stressed.
The French ambassador said he would convey Iran’s protest to his respective country.
The French magazine has a long history of publishing derogatory and sacrilegious cartoons in the name of freedom of expression.
Back in September 2020, it republished blasphemous cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that were first released in 2015, sparking anger and outrage across the Muslim world.
The measure led to a deadly attack on January 7, 2015, which claimed the lives of 12 people, including eight staff of Charlie Hebdo.
The magazine has also adopted an aggressive anti-Iranian stance since the outbreak of foreign-backed riots in September, releasing some cartoons deemed offensive and insulting by Iranian authorities.
Iran's foreign ministry slapped sanctions against dozens of European individuals and entities, including Charlie Hebdo, on December 12 over their meddlesome measures pertaining to Iran's internal developments and support for acts of terror in the country.