Ahmadinejad criticized for embracing his female schoolteacher
May 2, 2007 - 6:37:41 PM
Tehran, May 2 - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, widely known for his strict Islamic approach, was criticized Wednesday in Islamic circles for having embraced his female teacher from primary school and for having kissed her hand.
The incident took place on teachers' day Tuesday in Tehran during which the president also awarded the elderly lady.
Although considered among Iranian officials as a total taboo, Ahmadinejad shook and kissed her hand and even embraced her after the award ceremony.
The incident was shown on state television and caused great surprise among ordinary Iranians and anger within the country's Islamic circles.
The ultra-Islamic Tehran daily Hizbollah - termed the incident as contrary to Islamic laws and regulations and an 'indecent act' which would have consequences for the president.
It was indeed the very first time in Iran's 28-year post-revolution history that an Iranian official touched a woman in public.
A witness at the ceremony said that the teacher, who is over 70 years old, became emotional seeing her former pupil after more than 40 years. She acted like a mother with her son, the witness said.
The witness added that it was the woman who made the first approach, hence bringing the president into a difficult position, as he had either to reject her or give in to shaking her hand.
According to Islamic regulations in Iran, men are not allowed to shake hands with women in public, although most Iranians ignore these regulations in private circles.
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