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.


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.

Get Today's Headlines in your inbox:
The day's top stories delivered every morning.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

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.’’

Associated Press

Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.
We hope you've enjoyed your free articles.
Continue reading by subscribing to for just 99¢.
 Already a member? Log in Home
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

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