Ahmadinejad in 'indecent' kiss
Tehran - Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stood accused of "indecency" on Wednesday after he publicly embraced and kissed on the hand an elderly woman who used to be his schoolteacher.
At a ceremony on Tuesday ahead of Iranian teachers' day, Ahmadinejad was photographed and filmed by state media stooping to kiss the woman's hand and then clasping her arms in an embrace.
"The Muslim Iranian people have no recollection of such acts contrary to Sharia law during Islamic rule," since the 1979 revolution, seethed the ultra-conservative Hezbollah newspaper on its front page.
"This type of indecency progressively has grave consequences, like violating religious and sacred values," added the paper, which has no link to the Lebanese militant group of the same name.
The elderly woman, who was not named, wore thick gloves along with a headscarf and long black coat, meaning that Ahmadinejad avoided any skin contact.
However his action raised eyebrows. According to Sharia law, it is forbidden for a man to have any physical contact with a woman to whom he is not related.
While Ahmadinejad is considered an ultra-conservative in the West, this is not the first time he and his government have been attacked by hardline elements even further along the spectrum.
He courted controversy when he unsuccessfully proposed women be allowed to attend football matches and one of his vice-presidents came under huge pressure last year after allegedly watching a woman dance at a ceremony in Turkey.
"This astonishing act by the president comes as the faithful have yet to forget his decision to allow women to watch football," noted the Hezbollah newspaper.
However other hardline publications published the images without further comment.
"A kiss on the hand for the teacher," was the headline in the government daily Iran. Ahmadinejad's action appeared a public gesture of humility before Iranian teachers, who have publicly protested against low salaries and accused the government of not doing enough to improve their work conditions.
Ahmadinejad in 'indecent' kiss: World: News: News24
The unholy Bastard and his evil ways with the women