A red carpet peck on the cheek by Leila Hatami, the Iranian actress at the Cannes Film Festival has been reported to the country’s courts by activists who are seeking a public flogging as punishment for violating Islamic laws.
Hizbullah Students, a group of university students with links to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard yesterday filed a complaint with Iran’s judiciary for the prosecution of the film star who starred in the Oscar-winning, A Separation.
Miss Hatami was condemned by Islamic Republic officials for kissing Gilles Jacob, the President of Cannes Festival, while attending the event as a member of the jury.
Mr Jacob tried to play down the incident, describing it as “a usual custom in the West” after it was condemned as an insult to Iranian womanhood.
“I kissed Mrs Hatami on the cheek,” Mr Jacob said. “At that moment, for me she represented all Iranian cinema, then she became herself again.”
According to the Guards-run Tasnim news website, the Hizbullah Students organisation called for Hatami to be flogged for “kissing a strange man”. The maximum sentence the offence can incur is 50 lashes.
[. . .]
Hossein Nushabadi, Iran’s deputy minister of culture, declared Hatami’s appearance in Cannes “in violation of religious beliefs”.
“Iranian woman is the symbol of chastity and innocence,” he said.
Apparently, we are supposed to believe that life in Iran is so incredibly problem-free that the authorities can afford to get outraged over patently non-outrageous things.