Muslims will “sooner or later” take revenge against the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo for publishing cartoons of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei deemed “insulting” by Tehran, the head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said on Tuesday.
The paper published caricatures of Khamenei last week in support of the ongoing protests in Iran, angering the Islamic Republic and its allies.
“You have made a big mistake, but sooner or later Muslims will take revenge, and you may arrest the avengers, but the dead will not come back to life,” Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami was quoted as saying by the semi-official ILNA news agency.
Salami also referenced the attack against novelist Salman Rushdie in August and warned that Charlie Hebdo’s staff may be subject to similar acts.
“I refer the French and the directors of this institution (Charlie Hebdo) to the fate of Salman Rushdie.”
Rushdie was stabbed on August 12 as he prepared to speak at an event in western New York. He had long faced death threats for his fourth novel, “The Satanic Verses,” published in 1988.
In 1989, Ruhollah Khomeini, Iran’s supreme leader at the time, pronounced a fatwa, or religious edict, that called for the murder of Rushdie and anyone involved in the publication of the book for blasphemy.
On Tuesday, Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah group also condemned the cartoons and called on France to punish Charlie Hebdo.
Khamenei is not just a political leader but “a religious symbol for tens of millions of believers,” the group said in a statement.