United Arab Emirates: DUBAI In a show of protest over Charlie Hebdo’s parody of Iran’s ruling mullahs, hardliners in Iran on Sunday set fire to the French flag outside of their embassy in Tehran.
With regards to the demands of the anti-government protests that have swept Iran, demanding for the overthrow of its Islamic Republic and challenging its hardline establishment, Charlie Hebdo caricatures generally connected the Paris-based magazine with those movements.
The Iranian government has previously attempted to organize its followers for counter-demonstrations, but those efforts have failed.
Many demonstrators, including seminary students, chanted “Death to France” and claimed that French President Emmanuel Macron had insulted Iran while pleading with Paris to end its “animosity” toward Tehran. The demonstrators were kept away from the embassy building by police, some of whom were seen holding pictures of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Hardline Iranian leaders’ supporters rarely target France’s Tricolor in their demonstrations and flag burnings; instead, they typically target the United States and its Stars and Stripes.
In Qom, the Iranian capital’s hub of Islamic instruction, some clerics allegedly staged comparable demonstrations, according to state media.
Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, the speaker of the Iranian parliament, claimed on Sunday that the French magazine’s cartoons were part of a Western strategy to incite “riots” in Iran.
Later that day, President Ebrahim Raisi made similar accusations and gave his initial response to the French caricatures. He claimed that the use of insults under the guise of freedom was a clear sign of their dissatisfaction with the discovery of a plan for turmoil and insecurity in Iran.
After Mahsa Amini, 22, who had been arrested by Iran’s morality police for allegedly breaking the country’s strict Islamic dress code, passed away while in detention in September, anti-government demonstrations broke out all over the country.
Since the 1979 revolution that established the Islamic Republic, the unrest has developed into one of the most serious threats to the government. According to human rights organizations, a violent response by security forces has resulted in the deaths of at least 517 protestors and the detention of more than 19,200 individuals. An official figure of people dead or imprisoned has not been released by Iranian authorities.
Authorities hanged two individuals on Saturday who had been found guilty of killing a paramilitary volunteer during the protests.
The hangings on Saturday brought the total of known executions since the turmoil over Amini’s death in September to four. All of the punishments were given following brief, secret trials that drew criticism from throughout the world.
Additionally, it was the third anniversary of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard shooting down a passenger jet from Ukraine, killing all 176 persons on board, and igniting a nationwide uprising. In the midst of intense tensions with the United States, Tehran originally claimed responsibility for shooting down the airliner until acknowledging that it had done it accidentally.
Three years into the prosecution of 10 military members who have not been publicly identified but are allegedly responsible for the downing of the airliner, an Iranian court has not yet rendered a decision.
On Sunday, the families of the deceased gathered at the disaster site to hold a memorial service apart from an official remembrance planned at Tehran’s international airport, the flight’s departure location.
Faezeh Hashemi, the daughter of former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, was given a five-year prison sentence for “promotion against the system” by a court on Sunday, according to Iranian media.
the vocal reform advocate Hashemi has been imprisoned since late September after being detained by security personnel for supporting demonstrations led by female protest leaders against the Islamic Republic’s hijab or head covering requirement.
Hashemi was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison in 2011 for comparable security-related offenses.
Iranian officials have persisted in asserting that foreign operatives are behind the months-long protests but have provided no evidence to support their claims.
A decades-old French research organization was shut down on Thursday in Tehran by authorities in response to Charlie Hebdo’s publication of cartoons insulting Iranian clerical figures. The authorities described the closure as a “first step” in their response.