Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, commonly known for not being nice, is now in trouble for being too nice.
Ahmadinejad was photographed touching hands and cheeks with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s mother after he died last week, consoling her over what must be a terrible loss. This did not sit well with the clerics, as the New York Times reports:
To Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s critics in the West, the image of him clasping hands with the grief-stricken mother of Hugo Chávez at her son’s funeral last week in Caracas might have seemed like a rare glimpse of a firebrand politician’s softer side. But the clerics who rule Iran saw something very different: proof that the Islamic Republic’s official representative had flouted that nation’s absolute ban on physical contact between unrelated men and women.
Unfortunately for even the president of the country, physical contact between the sexes is illegal unless the woman is drowning or is in need of medical attention. Death to Ahmadinejad then, I suppose.
Perhaps the most grievous crime that he committed, however, is not the physical contact, but rather the emotional one. Mohammad Taghi Rahbar, the Friday prayer leader in Isfahan, sternly told the Mehr news service (via The Week)
Hugging or expressing emotions is improper for the dignity of the president of a country like the Islamic Republic of Iran.
I have been told that Iran is usually full of warm and friendly people. Just saying.
Photo Credit: Miraflores Palace