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Charlie Hebdo doubles down on Iran leader cartoons

A protester wearing a ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ costume holds a placard during a silent march through central London on January 7, 2023, to raise awareness about the recent women-led uprising in Iran. (Photo by Justin TALLIS / AFP)

French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo doubled down on its ridicule of Iran’s religious rulers on Tuesday, with fresh cartoons of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei despite protests from Iran and its allies.

“The mullahs aren’t happy. The caricatures of their supreme leader… do not seem to have made them laugh,” the paper’s editor, known as “Riss”, writes in the latest edition, which hits newsstands on Wednesday.

“Laughing at themselves has never been a strong point of tyrants,” he added.

The paper was hit by a cyber attack after publishing cartoons of Khamenei in last week’s special edition, which marked the anniversary of the 2015 attack on its Paris offices that left 12 dead.

“A digital attack doesn’t leave anyone dead, but it sets the tone. The mullah’s regime feels in such danger that it considers it vital to its existence to hack the website of a French newspaper,” Riss wrote.

“It is an honour in one sense, but above all proves that they feel their power is very fragile.”

There have been months of protests in Iran sparked by the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a woman arrested for allegedly violating the country’s strict dress code.

Iran issued an official warning to France over the “insulting and indecent” cartoons in last week’s Charlie Hebdo.

Earlier on Tuesday, Hezbollah, the pro-Iranian movement in Lebanon, also condemned the cartoons, saying Khamenei was not just a ruler but “a religious symbol for tens of millions of believers”.

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