(NEW YORK) — Iranian clerics have slammed conservative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for “clowning around” when he gave a consoling hug to Hugo Chavez’s grieving mother, a violation of the country’s strict Islamic rules about touching women.
Iranian media ran photos of Ahmadinejad embracing the woman and crying at Chavez’s funeral, raising the ire of the country’s powerful clerics.
Under the laws of Iran, a theocracy governed by religious clerics and Islamic law, touching an unrelated member of the opposite sex is strictly taboo.
Ahmadinejad and Chavez were friends and allies though generally considered pariahs by the United States and much of the international community. After the Venezuelan president’s death last week, Ahmadinejad sent a letter of condolence, calling Chavez a martyr and predicting his resurrection.
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Michael Pearson, Faith Karimi and Ian Lee, CNN
Roshni Majumdar, CNN