Iran condemns 'provocative' new Charlie Hebdo cartoon

AP News
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Posted: Jan 14, 2015 7:01 AM

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran on Wednesday condemned the "provocative" publication of a new caricature of the Prophet Muhammad on the cover of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, calling it an insult to Islam.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham says the publication of the cartoon "provokes the sentiments of Muslims the world over."

Iran has strongly condemned last week's deadly assault on the magazine's Paris office by Islamic extremists who killed 12 people, including much of the weekly's editorial staff and two police officers. Afkham said the attack was against Islam's teachings.

The issue of the magazine that came out Wednesday features an image of the prophet holding a "Je suis Charlie" ("I am Charlie") sign beneath the banner headline "Tout est Pardonne" ("All is Forgiven"). The magazine was to produce 3 million copies -- more than 50 times the usual circulation.

Islam forbids depictions of Muhammad or other prophets. Al-Qaida's Yemeni affiliate claimed last week's attack, casting it as revenge for the magazine's earlier publication of caricatures of the prophet deemed offensive.

In remarks on the sidelines of nuclear talks in Geneva, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif called for mutual respect among different cultures.

"We believe that sanctities need to be respected and unless we learn to respect one another it will be very difficult in a world of different views and differing cultures and civilizations," he told reporters.

"I think we would have a much safer, much more prudent world if we were to engage in serious dialogue, serious debate about our differences and then what we will find out that what binds us together is far greater than what divides us."

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Associated Press writer Matthew Lee in Geneva contributed to this report.