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Report: Iranian Cartoonist Arrested After Drawing Cartoon in Support of France

Hadi Heidari cartoon / Instagram
• November 17, 2015 1:09 pm

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An Iranian cartoonist was reportedly arrested in Tehran after drawing a cartoon in support of France after suicide bombings and shootings in Paris killed and wounded hundreds of people.

Official state news media, which are controlled by Iran’s hardliners, have yet to report the arrest of the cartoonist, Hadi Heidari.

The New York Times reported:

The Tabnak news site, a Persian-language service in Iran, said Mr. Heidari was taken into custody for "unknown reasons" Monday afternoon while at work at The Shahrvand, a daily newspaper in Tehran that is owned by Iran’s Red Crescent Society, or Red Cross. Iranian rights activists, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for protection, said they had learned of Mr. Heidari’s arrest from his colleagues at The Shahrvand, who described the arresting agents as members of the intelligence unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. … It came after the publication of a cartoon by Mr. Heidari depicting tearful solidarity with the people of France over the attacks Friday that left at least 129 people dead.

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attacks in Paris, which killed at least 129 people and wounded upwards of 350 others last Friday. While Iranian President Hassan Rouhani condemned the attacks as "crimes against humanity," Iran’s hardliners are against displaying any friendliness toward the West.

Iran’s hardline state news media have blamed France’s policies toward Syria for the terror attacks. Some Iranian media outlets have also given voice to conspiracy theories about the Islamic State being created by the West.

The cartoonist, who also posted the image to Instagram, has been arrested before. Heidari was thrown in jail in 2009 for taking part in a religious demonstration to free political prisoners. He was also questioned in 2012 about one of his cartoons that hardliners argued insulted Iranian soldiers.

Heidari is one of several Iranian journalists that have been arrested in recent weeks due to alleged collaboration with the West.

Published under: Iran, Terrorism