Widespread support for Iran cartoonist sentenced to lashings
bbc / Arash Ahmadi

Political cartoonists, like other journalists in Iran, have to tread a fine line - taboo subjects change with the ebb and flow of the political power play among the ruling factions, making it difficult for commentators to determine the lines they cannot cross.

For example, the lampooning of the clerical classes is generally not acceptable, but cartoons of former reformist President Mohammad Khatami, himself a man of the cloth, go unpunished.

Current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not immune either - cartoons ridicule his looks and prominent nose. His falling out with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei may have something to do this.

So it came as a surprise when a cartoonist was recently sentenced to 25 lashes for publishing a caricature of a right-wing MP from Iran's Central Province.

recommended by Darius Kadivar