Iran Denounces Charlie Hebdo Attack but Bans Journalists from Joining #JeSuisCharlie


Iran denounced the Charlie Hebdo massacre but refused to allow Iranian journalists to show solidarity with their murdered counterparts. Authorities blocked the journalists from the old building for the Association of Iranian Journalists.

The journalists attempted to organize a demonstration on Thursday in solidarity with the satirical French magazine, but “police and security forces” surrounded the building. A journalist claimed the forces arrived before the gathering. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL reports):

He said journalists had planned to place flowers and light candles in front of the association’s building as a sign of respect for the Charlie Hebdo staffers killed in the attack, which left 12 people dead.

But the journalists said they were forced to leave without placing the flowers they had carried after an hour of trying to bargain with the police.

RFE/RL also reported Iranian media published reports of the Charlie Hebdo massacre. However, the reports were minimal or slammed the satirical newspaper for publishing cartoons of Muhammad.

“It is not acceptable that the president of France defends the freedom of speech in his speech after the attacks,” printed Sharq, one of Iran’s independent publications, according to RFE/RL. “This popular journal had published an insulting illustration of the Prophet of Islam.” The daily suggested that “revising relations with moderate Islamic countries such as Iran, which are pursuing confrontation with extremism [like that of] [the Islamic State group] under the name of Islam, can lead to mutual understanding and to the elimination of the atmosphere of violence.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani condemned the attack in a statement on Friday.

“Those who kill and carry out violent and extremist acts unjustly in the name of jihad, religion or Islam provoke Islamophobia whether they wish it or not,” he said.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham claimed “all acts of terrorism against innocent people are alien to the doctrine and teachings of Islam.”

Imam Ahmad Khatami, leader of Friday’s prayers, shared Afkham’s thoughts. “Islam does not allow the killing of innocents, be it in Paris, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan or Afghanistan,” he said in his sermon.

The spokeswoman for Iran’s news agency took a swipe at Charlie Hebdo and other publications for publishing Muhammad cartoons. “Use of freedom of expression and radical ideas to humiliate the divine religions and their values and their symbols is unacceptable,” she said.