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Iran shuts down Tehran-based French research institute in response to magazine’s insulting cartoons

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This file picture shows a view of the Iranian Foreign Ministry building in the capital Tehran.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry has decided to shut down a Tehran-based French archaeological and historical institute in protest against the French weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo’s move to insult the top religious authority of the Islamic Republic.

The Institut Français de Recherche, which is part of the cultural wing of the French embassy, used to study ancient Persian antiquities. 

The move comes after the Iranian ministry decried Charlie Hebdo’s profane move as an indication that Zionism has utilized media to act against Islam and promote hatred and division among human beings.

In a statement released on Thursday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry condemned, in the strongest terms, the French magazine’s decision 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.

It said such an offensive move by the notorious magazine amounts to the violation of the recognized moral norms, barbaric desecration of religious sanctities, a sacrilegious move against the political and religious authorities, and an offense against the administrative symbols and national values of Iranians.

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

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 Iranian Foreign Ministry added.

On Wednesday, French Ambassador of France to Tehran Nicolas Roche was summoned by the Iranian Foreign Ministry in protest at the insulting cartoons.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran brooks by no means any insults to its sanctities, and Islamic, religious, and national values,” the Ministry’s Spokesman Nasser Kanaani told the French envoy in the meeting.

“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 French ambassador said he would convey Iran’s protest to his respective country.

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