Iran students plan demo at French embassy over cartoon
Iranian students have called for a demonstration Monday outside the French embassy in Tehran in response to a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed published by satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, media reports said.
News of the planned protest led the French ambassador to announce the embassy would close on Monday and advise expatriates to avoid the area.
Sympathy over the killing of 12 people by Islamist gunmen at Charlie Hebdo's offices in Paris on January 7 has turned to anger in several Muslim countries, after it pictured the prophet on the front page of its "survivors" edition.
The image has angered many Muslims as depictions of Mohammed are widely considered forbidden in Islam, and has triggered protests in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, some of which turned deadly.
Feelings are also running high in Iran. On Saturday a newspaper was banned for publishing a "I am Charlie" headline on its front page, words that have come to symbolise the fight for freedom of expression after the January 7 attack.
Iran initially denounced the Charlie Hebdo massacre, saying the killings contradicted Islamic teaching, but also condemned the magazine's new cartoon of the prophet, where he holds a "Je suis Charlie" sign under the heading "All is forgiven".
The Fars news agency quoted Sadegh Nasrollahi, a member of Iran's Confederation of Independent Islamic Students Associations, as saying Monday's protest would start at 1500 local time (1130 GMT).
The demonstration will be attended by dozens of lawmakers, including those from the country's recognised minority faiths, namely Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians, Nasrollahi was quoted as saying.
Other conservative media organisations also carried Nasrollahi's comments.
Ten people have been killed in Niger since Charlie Hebdo published the cartoon on Wednesday. In the capital Niamey, protesters went on the rampage, setting fire to at least eight churches.
Bars, hotels and various businesses owned by non-Muslims or with connections to France were also targeted.
© 2015 AFP