French police reported on Wednesday that a display board installed on private land honoring the memory of late Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s stay in France was vandalized.

The glass-fronted sign was placed in front of the house where Khomeini resided for several months in the town of Nouvelle-le-Chateau near Paris in the late 1970s, before he returned victoriously to Iran to found the Islamic Republic, reports Al-Rai daily.

And with anti-regime protests across Iran, controversy escalated over the painting, which contained a portrait of Khomeini and two texts in French and Farsi about the anniversary of his stay.

A source in the gendarmerie in the Yvelines region told AFP, on condition of anonymity, that the painting was vandalized on Tuesday night.

The source added, “The glass shattered and the painting bearing Khomeini’s picture was pulled from its wooden frame and thrown on the ground.”

Although the display, about a meter high, is set on private land, it can still be seen from the street.

Khomeini resided in the town between October 1978 and January 1979 when the Shah of Iran forced him into exile.

Khomeini died in 1989, and his successor as Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, still rules Iran today.

The town council of Nouvelle-le-Chateau announced in mid-January that the painting would be hidden “perhaps by a large billboard on the sidewalk”, but the decision was not implemented.

The decision followed a request from the Women’s International Law Association, which represents 40 NGOs, and the “Fem Azadi” association.

These non-governmental organizations demanded, “in light of the tragic events currently taking place in Iran, that permission be granted to hide the painting without delay.”

At least 481 people have been killed in the crackdown by Iranian authorities to suppress the protest movement, according to the Norway-based Human Rights Organization in Iran.

The association and Fam Azidi also demanded that a site or street in the town of Nouvelle-le-Château bear the name of Mahsa Amini.

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