Iran closes French institute in protest to Khamenei cartoons

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Iran announced Thursday the closure of a Tehran-based French research institute in protest against cartoons of the Islamic Republic’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei published by French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.

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“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.

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.

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.

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 center 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.

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