In Cartoons: How Iranians, Saudis See Each Other

By Joanna Paraszczuk and Golnaz Esfandiari | ( RFE/RL ) | – –

Cartoonists on each side of an Iranian-Saudi diplomatic dispute are highlighting what they perceive as the other's double standards.
The confrontation over Riyadh's execution of a prominent Shi'ite cleric has sent tensions between the regional rivals soaring. Nimr al-Nimr's execution on terrorism charges on January 2 led to angry protests in Iran, including an attack on the Saudi Embassy that prompted Saudi Arabia and several of its allies to cut or downgrade ties with Tehran.
In this sample of cartoons, the predominant Saudi view could be summed up as: "Iran opposes Islamic State while fueling terrorism," and the Iranian view as: "Saudi Arabia claims to fight Islamic State while executing innocents, just like IS."

Here are two offerings from Iranian cartoonist Mana Neyestani:



This image appears on the website of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei:

 These two, from the Tasnim news agency, play on Nimr's status as a martyr in Iran…


 …while Fars used crude stereotypes showing Israel behind Nimr's execution — and harming itself in the process — as has been asserted by some Iranian officials:

The cover of Iranian reformist weekly Seda shows Saudi King Salman and his reflection — Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi…

…while this anti-Tehran cartoon puts Baghdadi under the same turban as Khamenei.

A cartoon in the Saudi daily Okaz shows the restraining hand of Riyadh holding back an Iran bent on wreaking havoc throughout the region:

In this one, an Iranian feeds birds in a nest marked "terrorism":

Here, the Islamic State group gives first aid to Iran:

This image shows Iran above ground as portrayed in the media, while below lurks Iran "in reality." Its tentacles include "treachery," "subjugation," and "aggression":

Here, the bottom caption says "Urgent, the coalition is killing civilians":

Finally, this, via RFE/RL's Radio Farda, reminds the reader that Tehran — while crying foul over Nimr's fate — has jailed hundreds of its own domestic critics:



Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

3 Responses

  1. Extremists on both sides thrive on the atrocities of the other. This is made massively worse by naive chauvinists who are otherwise moderate, but choose to live in a media / information bubble where ‘their’ misdemeanours are all but ignored. And if you mention these things to them they will accuse you of bigotry and hate speech! Sounds familiar?
    Sunnis have been bombarded with the ethnic cleansing of Baghdad, Shia with the anti-Shia atrocities such as the Golden Dome bombing. Shared space for coexistence – which existed in Iraq, has been destroyed. On both sides those providing the ‘information’ use it to manipulate them into believing their cannot ever be coexistence. The ‘winners’ get the oilfields, and you can be sure they will establish hereditary privilege for their clans, because that is what they always do, despite all the window dressing.

  2. Did you say “crude” Jewish stereotypes?

    How about absolutely and unequivocally racist anti-Jewish stereotypes?

  3. These kinds of “See? Both sides are doing it!” arguments are being deployed to obscure the simple fact that Saudi Arabia just executed a man for a thought crime, and for his sect. Nimr was no agent of Iran, he was a Saudi citizen, so it is not clear why media and commentators continue to play the Saudi-versus-Iran angle.

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