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Iran clerics take Ahmadinejad to task for hugging Chavez’s mother at funeral

Senior Iranian clerics say president violated strict Islamic code and failed to 'protect the dignity of his nation' by consoling mother of deceased Venezuelan leader with an embrace.

Haaretz

March 12, 2013 | 1:43 pm

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, right, offers his condolences to Elena Frias, mother of Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez, during the funeral service at the Military Academy in Caracas on March 8. Photo by Miraflores Palace/Reuters

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, right, offers his condolences to Elena Frias, mother of Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez, during the funeral service at the Military Academy in Caracas on March 8. Photo by Miraflores Palace/Reuters

Senior 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."

Read more on Haaretz.com.

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