Iran summoned the French ambassador on Wednesday to condemn the publication of offensive caricatures of the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
The magazine has a long history of publishing vulgar cartoons mocking Islamists, which critics say are deeply insulting to Muslims. Two French-born al-Qaida extremists attacked the newspaper’s office in 2015, killing 12 cartoonists, and it has been the target of other attacks over the years.
Its latest issue features the winners of a recent cartoon contest in which entrants were asked to draw the most offensive caricatures of Khamenei, who has held Iran’s highest office since 1989. The contest was billed as a show of support for anti-government protests rocking Iran.
One of the finalists depicts a turbaned cleric reaching for a hangman’s noose as he drowns in blood, while another shows Khamenei clinging to a giant throne above the raised fists of protesters. Others depict more vulgar and sexually explicit scenes.