The President of the Iranian Parliament, Mohamad Bagher Qalibaf, has sued a cartoonist and two media editors after being upset over a drawing by him published in a local newspaper.
The portrait shows the bearded politician wiping the sweat from his forehead with a cloth. It was drawn by the well-known press cartoonist Hadi Heidari for the newspaper ‘Sazandegi’.
Heidari said on his Twitter account this Tuesday that he and the two editors-in-chief of the newspaper would have to appear before a special press court. However, he has given assurances that he has been released “pending the final decision on the matter”.
The cartoon was very unflattering, but what apparently upset Qalibaf was that it stood next to a critical report titled “Qalibaf’s New Trouble,” which focused on allegations of meddling in the budgeting process for which the artist also appears in had to court.
The portrait of the sweaty politician might suggest to readers that the report’s claims are well founded, as the legislature’s president argues.
The Iranian Journalists’ Association has criticized the action and demanded that Qalibaf drop the unfounded allegations against media workers.
The Iranian parliament is dominated by hardliners who hardly tolerate media criticism, while the newspaper “Sazandegi” is the press organ of the reform party of the same name and is particularly critical of conservative politics.