Iranians protested outside the French Embassy in Tehran Wednesday to condemn the republishing of cartoons of Prophet Muhammad in the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine.
The protests came a day after Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei described the magazine’s decision to republish the cartoons as an “unforgivable sin” and a “grave crime.”
The protesters in Tehran, carrying religious flags and placards, chanted religious slogans outside the embassy.
“[The French authorities] do not deal with a bunch of clowns who insult prophets, but they imprison and torture scientists for simply investigating whether the Holocaust happened,” an Iranian cleric addressing the crowd using a microphone said.
Dozens also staged a protest in the city of Qom on the same day to condemn the French magazine’s decision.
Protesters in Qom set fire to US and Israeli flags as they stomped on them.
The magazine republished the cartoons on the eve of a trial in Paris of alleged accomplices in a 2015 attack on the magazine’s offices by Islamist militant gunmen in which 12 people were killed.
On January 7, 2015, two gunmen stormed the magazine’s Paris offices.
French President Emmanuel Macron said last week that it was not his place to pass judgment on the decision to republish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, saying France has freedom of expression.
But Macron, speaking on a visit to Lebanon, said it was incumbent on French citizens to show civility and respect for each other, and avoid a “dialogue of hate.”
“It’s never the place of a president of the Republic to pass judgment on the editorial choice of a journalist or newsroom, never. Because we have freedom of the press,” Macron said.