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This is outrageous. According to BBC News, Iranian government officials—known for their theocratic political system and exteme Islamic rule—condemned A Separation star Leila Hatami for kissing the president of Cannes Film Festival, Gilles Jacob, on the cheek during a premiere at the event.
Let me reiterate. She kissed him on the cheek, in greeting—like an air kiss, a custom that's common in most Western countries, as well as in the Persian community. And just because of that, the Iranian government is not only saying that Hatami has given a "bad image of Iranian women" at the event, but that her attendance all together is "in violation of religious beliefs."
Under the country's Islam-dominated regime, Hatami's outfit—despite the fact that she is wearing the customary head scarf—is considered "unacceptable" because her neck isn't covered.
The criticism comes from Iranian deputy culture minister Hossein Noushabadi, after he saw a photo of Hatami at the festival. "Those who attend international events should take heed of the credibility and chastity of Iranians so that a bad image of Iranian women will not be demonstrated to the world," he told state news IRIB (a.k.a., the country's propaganda mouthpiece). Additionally, as reported by BBC News, "the conservative Young Journalists' Club, operated by the country's state broadcaster, wrote that 'extending her (Hatami's) hand to Jacob was unconventional and improper behaviour.'"
Hatami is originally from Tehran, the country's capital, and currently still lives there with her husband and two children.
In response to the Iranian government's criticism, Jacob tweeted the following:
C moi qui ai fait la bise à Mme Hatami. À ce moment, elle représentait pour moi tout le cinéma iranien, ensuite elle est redevenue elle-même— gilles jacob (@jajacobbi) May 19, 2014
Cette polémique basée sur une coutume habituelle en occident n'a donc pas lieu d'être.— gilles jacob (@jajacobbi) May 19, 2014
A basic translation? "I kissed Mrs. Hatami on the cheek. At that moment, she, to me, represented all of Iranian cinema, then she was herself again." Then, in the second tweet, "This controversy based on a normal custom in the West is therefore not relevant."
[via BBC News]