In Neauphle-le-Château, the memory of Khomeini disturbs

<h2>A displayed friendship</h2>Neauphle-le-Château is "a name recorded forever in the history of Franco-Iranian relations"

In Neauphle-le-Château, the memory of Khomeini disturbs

A displayed friendship

Neauphle-le-Château is "a name recorded forever in the history of Franco-Iranian relations". This is in any case what proclaims, in French and Persian, a panel installed in the heart of this commune of Yvelines of 3,000 inhabitants. "The Iranian people will always remember the hospitality of the French people and the welcome extended to Imam Khomeini," reads alongside a depiction of the face of the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, who took refuge here for four months, between October 1978 and January 1979, just before returning to Tehran to overthrow the shah. On Wednesday, January 25, the poster was found on the ground, taken out of its wooden frame, the glass broken.

The Panel of Discord

The authorities do not know, for the moment, who is the author of this degradation. The panel, installed since 2017 on a private wasteland, in the middle of wild grass, is widely visible from the street. It arouses the anger of some of the inhabitants, who do not want to be associated with the Iranian regime. In particular since the latter has bloodily repressed the protest movement triggered by the death of Mahsa Amini, in September 2022, following his arrest by the morality police for wearing a veil deemed to be non-compliant. "Imagine that your neighbor sticks you a photo of Hitler in his garden, I think it would not take twenty-four hours for us to come and remove it", was moved on France 3 a resident of Neauphle-le -Castle.

A link to cut

Since 1979, the name of the commune has been associated, reluctantly, with Rouhollah Khomeini. At the time, the Shiite dignitary cultivated the image of the old sage in exile, seated under an apple tree, receiving Western journalists and intellectuals captivated by the character. Pilgrimages in his memory have since been regularly organized in Neauphle-le-Château. The city even gave its name to a street in Tehran, the Iranian capital, where the French Embassy is located. "I would like the city of Neauphle to no longer be associated with this part of history that was imposed on it, because it was the government that gave permission for the Ayatollah to stay here," he said. annoys in Le Parisien Elisabeth Sandjivy, the mayor (without label) of the commune.

A work for Mahsa Amini

As early as mid-January, even before the poster was defaced, the municipality of Neauphle-le-Château had announced its desire to hide it from the view of passers-by, "probably by a large panel installed on the sidewalk". Once the subject of the scandal has been concealed, legal proceedings could be initiated to compel the owner of the land to withdraw it. The city councilor also proposed that a work of art be dedicated to Mahsa Amini, in response to requests from feminist associations who wish "that a square or a street in the town now bear" the name of the Iranian student. .