Charlie Hebdo, the satirical French magazine, is once again in trouble with the Iranians.
Three times since 2011, the magazine has been targeted by terrorist attacks for its wildly disrespectful portrayal of Mohammed and Islam. In 2015, two Islamist gunmen entered the magazine’s offices and opened fire, killing 12 and wounding 11 more. There were also bombings in 2011 and 2020, as well as several other controversies along the way, including the publication of a satirical cartoon of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğanin in 2020 that almost led to war between France and Turkey.
But the magazine has a talent for getting under the skin of the crazies in Iran. And they’ve done it again with a cartoon contest to see who could draw the most offensive caricatures of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
These were some of the tamer ones.
مجله “شارلی ابدو” از معتبرترین مجلات کاریکاتور دنیا که در فرانسه منتشر میشود
سوژه مسابقه این شماره اش “خامنه ایی” بود
و این کاریکاتورها برنده شدند :#MahsaAmini#IranRevoIution#مهسا_امینی#فراخوان_۱۰_تا_۲۰_دی#ائتلاف pic.twitter.com/gGPMFGweP5
— دارن میرن اینا (کی میرن اینای سابق) (@iAmGooooodBoy) January 4, 2023
As part of the special “January 7” issue, commemorating the anniversary of the 2015 Charlie Hebdo attack, the satirical weekly chose to support Iranian men and women and to “beat the mullahs,” Le Monde said, adding that the paper was able to view 35 drawings selected from the 300 sent to the Charlie Hebdo editorial office, including from Iran, Turkey, the United States, Senegal and Australia.
The magazine advised that a cartoon of Khamenei should be the “funniest and meanest” possible, noting that “Cartoonists and caricaturists have a duty to help support Iranians in their struggle as they fight for their freedom, by ridiculing this religious leader who represents the past and casting him into history’s garbage bin.”
One cartoon that must have really incensed the Iranians showed Khamenei in a toilet being flushed by the young Iranian woman, Mahsa Amini, murdered while in the custody of the Morality Police.
— دشمن آخوند و آخوند پرست (@margbarakhonda) December 29, 2022
— Deepa Parent (@DeepaParent) January 4, 2023
A great cartoon from Charlie Hebdo pic.twitter.com/1zAfhbWsdf
— Zineb Riboua (@zriboua) January 6, 2023
Iran closed a long-standing French cultural institute and warned of further consequences for the French.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry called the closure of the French Institute for Research in Iran a “first step” in response to the cartoons, which the magazine had billed as a show of support for anti-government demonstrations that have convulsed Iran for nearly four months.
The ministry said it would “seriously pursue the case and take the required measures” to hold France accountable. On Wednesday, Iran summoned the French ambassador to complain about the cartoons.
The shuttered research institute, which is connected to the French Foreign Ministry, was created in 1983 through the merger of an archaeological delegation dating back to the late 19th century and an institute of Iran studies. It includes a library boasting some 49,000 references, including 28,000 books.
There are no sacred cows that Charlie Hebdo won’t take on. From portraying the pope as a pedophile to showing Khamenei being urinated on, the magazine truly lives up to the old adage that newspapers should “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”