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HomeU.S.Amid unrest, Iran's hardliners turn their anger to France

Amid unrest, Iran’s hardliners turn their anger to France

'Quick read' news summary

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Iranian hardliners on Sunday burnt France's flag outside of its embassy in Tehran where they were protesting cartoons published by the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that lampoon Iran's ruling clerics. The demonstrations outside of the French embassy follow previous attempts by Iran's rulers to mobilize their supporters in counter-demonstrations. Later in the day, President Ebrahim Raisi offered his first reaction to the French cartoons and echoed similar claims.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Iranian hardliners on Sunday burnt France’s flag outside of its embassy in Tehran where they were protesting cartoons published by the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that lampoon Iran’s ruling clerics.

The Charlie Hebdo caricatures largely aligned the Paris-based magazine with the demands of anti-government protests that have swept Iran calling for the downfall of its Islamic Republic and challenged its hardline establishment.

The demonstrations outside of the French embassy follow previous attempts by Iran’s rulers to mobilize their supporters in counter-demonstrations.

Hundreds of protesters including students from seminary schools shouted “Death to France” and accused French President Emmanuel Macron of insulting Iran while urging Paris to stop “animosity” toward Tehran. Police, some of whom appeared holding images of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, kept the demonstrators at a distance from the embassy building.

Supporters of Iran’s hardline leaders usually aim their protests and flag burning against the U.S. and its Stars and Stripes, but targeting France’s Tricolor is rare.

State television said some clerics held similar protests in the shrine city of Qom, the center of religious learning in Iran.

Iranian parliamentary speaker Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf on Sunday linked the French magazine’s cartoons with what officials have repeatedly alleged is the West’s plot to spread “riots” in Iran.

Later in the day, President Ebrahim Raisi offered his first reaction to the French cartoons and echoed similar claims. “Resorting to insults on the pretext of freedom is a clear indication of their frustration in concluding plot for chaos and insecurity” in Iran,

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