You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Ahmadinejad under fire for hugging Chavez’s mother

TEHRAN — Iranian clerics have scolded President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for consoling Hugo Chavez’s mother with a hug — a physical contact considered a sin under Iran’s strict Islamic codes.

The rebuke follows a widely published photo showing Ahmadinejad embracing Chavez’s mother at the funeral of the late Venezuelan president in what is seen as taboo-breaking behavior in Iran.

Continue reading below

Iranian papers on Tuesday cited clerics from the religious center of Qom who described the hug as ‘‘forbidden,’’ inappropriate behavior, and ‘‘clowning around.’’

Iran’s Islamic codes prohibit physical contact between unrelated members of the opposite sex.

The clerics did not spare Ahmadinejad. ‘‘Touching a non-mahram [a woman who is not a close relative] is forbidden under any circumstances, whether shaking hands or touching by the cheek,’’ said one of the clerics, Mohammad Taqi Rahbar, adding that such a contact, even with ‘‘an older woman is not allowed . . . and contrary to the dignity of the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran.’’

Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, a religious leader in Qom, said Ahmadinejad was ‘‘clowning around’’ and his hug shows he failed to ‘‘protect the dignity of his nation and his position.’’

Loading comments...
Want each day's news headlines delivered fresh to your
inbox every morning? Just connect with us
in one of the following ways:
Please enter a valid email will never post anything without asking.
Privacy Policy
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of
Marketing image of