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Iran warns France over 'insulted' Khamenei cartoons

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Iran warned France on Wednesday of consequences after satirical magazine charlie hebdo published cartoons depicting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that Tehran found insulting.

The weekly magazine ran dozens of cartoons ridiculing the Islamic republic’s highest religious and political figure as part of a competition launched in December in support of Iran’s three-month-old protest movement.

“The insulting and indecent act by a French publication in publishing cartoons against religious and political authority will not go without an effective and decisive response,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian tweeted.

“We will not allow the French government to overstep its limits. They have definitely chosen the wrong path,” he added, without explaining the consequences.

Later on Wednesday, Iran’s foreign ministry said it had summoned French ambassador Nicolas Roche.

“France has no right to insult the sanctities of other Muslim countries and nations under the pretext of freedom of expression,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani.

“Iran is waiting for the French government’s explanation and compensatory action to condemn the unacceptable behavior of the French publication,” he added.

Viewed by supporters as a free speech advocate and critics as unnecessarily provocative, Charlie Hebdo’s style is controversial, even within France.

But the country was united in grief when, in January 2015, it was the target of a deadly attack by Islamist gunmen who claimed to be avenging the magazine’s decision to publish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

ARCHIVE - A woman picks up a copy of the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo from a newsstand on February 25, 2015 in Lille.

ARCHIVE – A woman picks up a copy of the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo from a newsstand on February 25, 2015 in Lille.

‘Not the last word’

The issue in the latest controversy contained a variety of sexual images depicting Khamenei and other clerics. Other cartoons pointed to the authorities’ use of capital punishment as a tactic to quell protests.

“It was a way of showing our support for Iranian men and women who risk their lives to defend their freedom against the theocracy that has oppressed them since 1979,” he said. charlie hebdo director Laurent Sourisseau, known as Riss, wrote in an editorial.

All published cartoons “have the merit of challenging the authority that the alleged supreme leader claims to be, as well as the cohort of his servants and other henchmen”, he added.

Nathalie Loiseau, a French MEP and former minister loyal to President Emmanuel Macron, described Iran’s response as an “attempted interference and threat” to the charlie hebdo.

“Let it be perfectly clear: the repressive and theocratic regime in Tehran has nothing to teach France,” she said.

Khamenei, successor to revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, is appointed for life. Above day-to-day politics, criticism of him is banned inside Iran.

Khomeini, in 1989, issued a famous religious edict, or fatwa, ordering Muslims to kill British author Salman Rushdie for what he considered the blasphemous nature of Rushdie’s book. The Satanic Verses.

Many activists blamed Iran last year when the writer was stabbed at an event in New York, but Tehran has denied any link.

The Iranian regime has been rocked by three months of protests sparked by the September 16 death in custody of Mahsa Amini, an Iranian Kurd who was arrested for allegedly violating the country’s strict dress code for women.

He responded with a crackdown that the Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights said killed at least 476 people in protests, which Iranian authorities generally describe as “riots”.

charlie hebdo published the cartoons in a special edition to mark the anniversary of the deadly attack on its Paris office that left 12 dead, including some of its best-known cartoonists.

“Eight years later, religious intolerance has not had its last word,” said its director. “He continues his work in defying international protests and respecting the most basic human rights.”