The Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh on Friday "strongly condemned " the French magazine Charlie Hebdo for re-publishing a controversial cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad.
Disrespect and insult to the Prophet of Islam Muhammad and other prophets chosen by God is unacceptable, Khatibzadeh said, adding, "The disrespectful action of the French magazine which has been repeated under the pretext of freedom of expression has hurt the feelings of the real monotheists in the world, is provocative and an insult to Islamic values and beliefs of more than a billion Muslims".
The cartoons published by Charlie Hebdo in its most recent edition were first published by a Danish newspaper in 2006.
Charlie Hebdo, a satirical weekly magazine, has a long history of publication of controversial cartoons that Muslims find insulting.
In 2006 the magazine published a cartoon of a weeping Muhammad on its front page, captioned, "It's hard being loved by jerks.” Muslims across the world condemned the newspaper, which was subsequently sued by the Grand Mosque of Paris, the Muslim World League and the Union of French Islamic Organizations (UOIF). One of the offices of Charlie Hebdo was fire-bombed in 2011 and its website was hacked.
In 2012 Charlie Hebdo again published a series of satirical cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, including some that depicted him in the nude. Following the publication of these cartoons, embassies and consulates of the United States were attacked in several Muslim countries including Egypt, Yemen, India and Tunisia, and several people were killed.
Tensions came to a head in 2015, when two Islamist gunmen who said they were avenging the Prophet attacked the Paris headquarters of Charlie Hebdo, resulting in the death of 12 staff members. After the attack, marches were held in many cities in support of freedom of expression and in solidarity with the publication, and the slogan "Je suis Charlie Hebdo" was popularized.