HomeEuropeIran shuts French institute in protest at Charlie Hebdo cartoons

Iran shuts French institute in protest at Charlie Hebdo cartoons

Iran announced Thursday the closure of a French research institute in Tehran in protest against cartoons of Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei published in 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, adding that it will be “reviewing cultural ties with France.”

The French Research Institute in Iran, which is affiliated with the French foreign ministry, is a historical and archeological institute founded in 1983. After being closed for many years it was reopened when Hassan Rouhani became Iranian president in a move seen as a sign of warming bilateral relations.

Iran Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian had warned Wednesday that Paris chose “the wrong path” in allowing the publication of the cartoons of the Iranian supreme leader, calling them “insulting.” French Ambassador to Tehran Nicolas Roche was summoned to the Iranian foreign ministry.

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna reacted to Amir-Abdollahian’s comments by saying that “the bad policy is the one followed by Iran.”

The cartoons, published as part of a competition launched by Charlie Hebdo last month, were meant as a tribute to the Iranian women who have taken to the streets since 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in police custody, Charlie Hebdo’s publishing director said Tuesday on French radio.

The date of the publication of the cartoons came in the week of the anniversary of the January 2015 attacks on Charlie Hebdo’s Parisian newsroom, in which 12 people died. The paper had been targeted for publishing controversial cartoons of the prophet Mohammed.

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