Tehran: Paris bears ‘undeniable responsibility for Charlie Hebdo’s obscene cartoons

January 6, 2023 - 23:28

TEHRAN – The Iranian Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Thursday saying the French government bears “undeniable responsibility” for an “anti-cultural and anti-human move” by the notorious Charlie Hebdo magazine.

The statement came after the infamous magazine published offensive caricatures of Iran’s top politico and religious authority.

In response to this derogatory move, Iran announced it is revising its cultural relations with Paris by “ending the activities of the French Institute for Research in Iran as a first step.”

The move came a day after Iran had warned Paris of consequences and summoned the French ambassador.

The ministry said the Paris government is first and foremost responsible to deal with violations of the sanctity of freedom, breach of human rights, insults against religious values and beliefs and threats to the national sovereignty of other countries by legal and natural persons.

The ministry condemned “in the strongest terms” the infamous magazine’s move “to trample on recognized moral norms, savagely violate religious sanctities, disrespect the sanctum of the political religious authority, and insult the Iranians’ state symbols and national values,” Press TV reported.

The statement added that over the past years, the French magazine has repeatedly provoked Muslims’ anger by publishing insulting cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

Iran shuts down French research institute

In response to Charlie Hebdo’s insulting cartoons, the Iranian Foreign Ministry on Thursday closed the French institute studying ancient Persian antiquities.  The Institut Français de Recherche en Iran is part of the cultural wing of the French embassy.

The ministry said the closure of the institute was "the first step" in response to the sacrilegious cartoons.

The ministry said the infamous magazine’s obscene move is an indication that Zionism has utilized media to act against Islam and promote hatred and division among human beings.

The controversial magazine had in early December announced a competition for producing the cartoons.

Such an offensive move amounts to the violation of the recognized moral norms, desecration of religious sanctities, a sacrilegious move against the political and religious authorities, and an offense against the administrative symbols and Iranians’ national values, the Foreign Ministry stated.

Charlie Hebdo’s insult reveals once again that Zionism has taken advantage of media to promote anti-Islamic sentiments and foment hatred and division among societies and people, the ministry added.

Iran summons French ambassador

The Iranian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday afternoon summoned French Ambassador Nicolas Roche in reaction to the move by the satirical magazine.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran tolerates by no means any insults to its sanctities, and Islamic, religious, and national values,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani told the French ambassador.

“France has no right to justify insults to sanctities of other countries and Muslim nations under the pretext of freedom of expression,” Kanaani remarked, expressing Tehran’s “strong protest” to the French government.

The summoning comes as Charlie Hebdo is set to publish several insulting cartoons of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution in a special issue later this week, Press TV reported.

Kanaani stressed that the French government bears the responsibility for this “hateful, insulting and unjustified” action.

Pointing to the “dark history” of the French publication in insulting Islam, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and the Quran, the Foreign Ministry spokesman said Tehran reserves the right to give a “proportionate response” to this profane move.

Kanaani stressed Iran expects the French government to provide explanations and take action in condemning the publication’s “unacceptable behavior”.

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 that were first released in 2015, sparking anger and outrage across the Muslim world.

The magazine has also adopted an aggressive anti-Iran stance since the outbreak of riots in Iran in September, releasing some cartoons deemed offensive and insulting.

The Iranian 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.

Earlier on Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian denounced Charlie Hebdo for its insulting and obscene caricatures.

The French magazine will face a "decisive and effective" retaliation for its blatant and disrespectful action against the highly esteemed “religious and political authorities,” Amir Abdollahian tweeted.

“We won’t allow the government of France to overstep the mark. They have definitely taken a wrong path,” Amir Abdollahian underlined.

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