Iran closes French institute to protest Khamenei cartoons

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Iran announced on 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 magazine printed the caricatures in support of months of protests in Iran as part of a special edition to mark the anniversary of the deadly 2015 attack on its Paris office which left 12 people dead, including some of its best known cartoonists.

“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.

The French government must hold responsible “the authors of such hatred”, it added, also calling for “a serious fight against anti-Islamism and Islamophobia” in France.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said 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”.