The head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, Hossein Salami, has threatened the authors of cartoons recently published in the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, advising them to look into the fate of Salman Rushdie – the writer subject to a terrorist attack last summer.

Following the publication of new cartoons about Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the Iranian regime that were published by Charlie Hebdo in early January, shortly before the eighth anniversary of the terrorist attack against Charlie Hebdo, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard made his comments during a trip, Iranian state media IRNA reported.

Salami “advised the French and the makers of Charlie Hebdo magazine to look into the fate of Salman Rushdie”, IRNA added.

“Don’t mess with Muslims, Salman Rushdie insulted the Quran and the Holy Prophet of Islam 30 years ago and went into hiding […]. After many years, a young Muslim bravely took revenge on Salman Rushdie and no one could save him,” he continued.

France reaffirms its constant and determined commitment to press freedom, freedom of expression and the protection of journalists everywhere in the world,” the French Foreign Ministry told journalists on Wednesday, responding to the comments.

The threat against French nationals was described as “unacceptable” by French diplomacy, which recalled the words of Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna on 5 January: “In France, press freedom exists, unlike in Iran, and it is exercised under the control of the judge, within the framework of an independent justice system, which is also something that Iran is probably unfamiliar with.”

The Foreign Ministry already indicated on Tuesday that the classification of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) as a “terrorist organisation” by the EU was not excluded.

In addition, the French Minister for Europe, Laurence Boone, told the National Assembly’s European Affairs Committee that France still favours EU-level sanctions against Iran as long as the Iranian regime continues its repressive policies.

Despite this determination, the French government’s position seems delicate because “we have hostages in Iranian prisons, whom we also want to protect”, Boone told French MPs.

Source » euractiv