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In Cartoons: How Iranians, Saudis See Each Other

A cartoon in the Saudi daily Okaz

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:

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    Golnaz Esfandiari

    Golnaz Esfandiari is a senior correspondent for RFE/RL focusing on Iran. She has reported from Afghanistan and Haiti and is one of the authors of The Farda Briefing newsletter. Her work has been cited by The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other major publications. Born and raised in Tehran, she is fluent in Persian, French, English, and Czech.