Tehran closes French institute after Charlie Hebdo cartoons of Ayatollah Khamenei

Tehran closes French institute after Charlie Hebdo cartoons of Ayatollah Khamenei

The Iranian authorities had warned France that they would take action after the publication on the same day by Charlie Hebdo of these cartoons featuring the highest religious and political figure in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

(…) The ministry puts an end to the activities of the French Institute of Research in Iran (IFRI) as a first step”, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said. According to its website, IFRI is affiliated with the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The French Embassy in Tehran said it had no immediate comment.

In its statement, the Iranian ministry accuses the French authorities “of continued inaction in the face of expressions of anti-Islamism and the spread of racist hatred in French publications“.

He asks the French government to hold accountable the “authors (of the propagation) of such hatred“, emphasizing that the “iranian people“would follow”with serious“the response that France would provide. The ministry also calls on Paris to lead”a serious fight against Islamophobia“.

The cartoons published in the satirical newspaper were selected as part of a contest launched in December, as demonstrations continued in Iran to protest the September 16 death in custody of Mahsa Amini, an Iranian Kurd arrested for violates the country’s strict dress code.

Ambassador summoned

Iranian officials, who generally denounce such protests as “riots“, claim that hundreds of people have been killed, including members of the security forces, and thousands more arrested.

Charlie Hebdo argued in December that this “international competition“aimed to support the”Iranians fighting for their freedom“.

the number contains several sexual cartoons depicting Ayatollah Khamenei and other Iranian clerics, as well as cartoons denouncing Iran’s use of the death penalty as a tactic to intimidate protesters.

One of the drawings of the"<em>international competition</em>"  aimed at supporting "<em>Iranians fighting for their freedom"  </em>launched by Charlie Hebdo.

Two Iranians were executed for their involvement in the protests. Iranian justice has again pronounced a new death sentence in first instance against a man who participated in the demonstrations.

Before the announcement of the closure of IFRI, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna indicated that “freedom of the press exists (in France) contrary to what is happening in Iran“, recalling that the offense of blasphemy does not exist in French law.

The wrong policy is the one followed by Iran which practices violence against its own population“, she added Thursday, questioned on the French television channel LCI.

“Hate Act”

On Wednesday January 4, his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian denounced “an insulting and indecent act” who does not “will not remain without a firm answer“. The French ambassador to Iran Nicolas Roche was summoned the same day by Foreign Affairs in Tehran.

Iran does not accept in any way the insult of its values ​​(…) Islamic, religious and national (…) and France does not have the right to insult what is sacred (… ) for Muslim countries under the pretext of freedom of expression“said ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani.

Iran”considers the French government responsible for this hateful, insulting and unjustified act“, he added.

The headquarters of IFRI, in the center of Tehran, had been closed for many years. It had reopened under the presidency of the moderate Hassan Rohani (2013-2021) as a sign of the warming of Franco-Iranian relations. It includes a rich library, used by students of the French language and Iranian scholars.

IFRI was born in 1983 after the merger of the French Archaeological Delegation in Iran (DAFI), created in 1897, and the French Institute of Iranology in Tehran (IFIT), founded in 1947 by Henry Corbin, according to its website .