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Iran FM censures Charlie Hebdo over ‘insulting’ act, warns of ‘decisive’ response

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian addresses a press conference in Tehran on December 19, 2022. (File photo by Tasnim News Agency)

Iran's foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has strongly condemned the “insulting” act by the controversial French magazine Charlie Hebdo in publishing caricatures of the country's top religious authority, warning of a “decisive” response.

“The insulting and indecent move by a French publication in publishing cartoons against the religious and political authority will not go without an effective and decisive response,” the minister wrote in a Twitter post on Wednesday.

“We will not allow the French government to go beyond its bounds. They have definitely chosen the wrong path,” he added.

The condemnation comes as Charlie Hebdo is set to publish several insulting cartoons of 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.

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.

“We have earlier put the publication in the list of sanctioned entities,” Amir-Abdollahian said in his Wednesday tweet.

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.

Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned the French envoy over Paris’s interventionist statements as well as Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons on September 28.

Foreign-backed riots have hit various Iranian provinces since 22-year-old woman Mahsa Amini died at the hospital on September 16, three days after collapsing at a police station. An investigation has attributed Amini’s death to her medical condition, rather than alleged beatings by the police.

The violent riots, meanwhile, have claimed the lives of dozens of people and security forces, while also allowing terrorist attacks across the country. In the last two months, the terrorists have set fire to public property and tortured several Basij members and security forces to death.

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