Iran announced Thursday the closure of a Tehran-based French research institute in protest against cartoons of the Islamic republic’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei published by French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.
“The ministry is ending the activities of the French Institute for Research in Iran as a first step,” the Iranian foreign ministry said in a statement, a day after Tehran had warned Paris of consequences.
IFRI, affiliated to the French foreign ministry, is a historical and archeological institute founded in 1983 after the merger of the French Archaeological Delegation in Iran and the French Institute of Iranology in Tehran.
Located in the centre of Tehran, it had been closed for many years but was reopened under the 2013-2021 presidency of the moderate president Hassan Rouhani as a sign of warming bilateral relations.
Iran has been shaken by over three months of protests triggered by the September 16 death in custody of Mahsa Amini, 22, an Iranian Kurd who was arrested for allegedly violating the country’s strict dress code for women.
Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday published the caricatures of Khamenei in support of the protests, in a special edition to mark the anniversary of the deadly 2015 attack on its Paris office which left 12 people dead.
The magazine said it published the caricatures in a special edition to mark the anniversary of a deadly attack on its Paris office on January 7, 2015 by Islamist militants, after the weekly had published cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammed.
No lessons from Iran over press freedoms, says France
Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian tweeted in response that “the insulting and indecent act of a French publication in publishing cartoons against the religious and political authority will not go without an effective and decisive response”.
Iran’s foreign ministry also summoned French ambassador Nicolas Roche.
Responding to Iran’s diplomatic measures on Thursday, French Foreign Minster Catherine Colonna said Tehran should look at what is going on at home before criticising France, Foreign Minster
Speaking to LCI TV, Colonna said it was Iran that was pursuing bad policies through its violence against its population and detention of French nationals.
“Let’s remember that in France press freedom exists contrary to what’s happening in Iran and that this (freedom) is overseen by a judge within the framework of an independent judiciary, which is something that Iran without doubt doesn’t know well,” she said, adding that there were no blasphemy laws in France.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP and Reuters)
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