TEHRAN – Iranian authorities closed the Mardom-e Emrooz newspaper after it published a quote from U.S. actor George Clooney saying “I am Charlie” in reference to the attack on a French satirical newspaper, Tasnim News Agency reported yesterday.
The country’s public prosecutor ordered the newspaper to close for supporting “offensive media” after the Jan. 13 reference to Charlie Hebdo’s cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad, Tasnim reported, citing the publication’s editor, Mohammad Ghoochani. He declined comment on the closing when reached by telephone in Tehran, saying that it wasn’t an appropriate time for him to speak about the matter.
Iranian officials have said the cartoon on the cover of Charlie Hebdo is insulting to Muslims, while denouncing the assault on the magazine’s office in Paris that killed 12 people. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif, speaking before meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry on his country’s nuclear program in Geneva on Jan. 14, called for a period of calm reflection at a “dangerous” moment.
Clooney made the remark at the Golden Globe Awards ceremony on Jan. 11.
About 5 million copies of the special issue of Charlie Hebdo were printed a week after the deadliest attacks in Paris in more than half a century, in which 17 people died. The magazine showed a cartoon of Muhammad, crying, against a green background, holding a board saying “Je suis Charlie” or “I am Charlie.” Above his image are the words “All is Forgiven.”
In response to this issue, the Islamic Republic News Agency has run a “I love Muhammad” campaign.