Iran

Iranian Actress Apologizes after Threatened with Flogging for Kiss at Cannes

The Independent reported Friday that an Iranian actress faces possible prosecution and punishment for kissing the head of the Cannes film festival last week.

According to the report, Leila Hatami “angered religious authorities” leading to calls for her prosecution and possible flogging for the infraction. Some government officials reportedly condemned her for presenting “a bad image of Iranian women.”

And on Wednesday, Hizbullah Students – a group of students with links to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard – called for Ms Hatami to be prosecuted, The Telegraph reported. …

According to the Tasnim news website, the Hizbullah Students organisation has filed a complaint with the judiciary demanding that Ms Hatami be punished, the newspaper reported. The maximum sentence is 50 lashes.

The complaint stated:

We, the undersigned, who are a group of student Muslim brothers and sisters, ask the cultural and media branch of the judiciary to prosecute Leyla Hatami for her sinful act of kissing a strange man in public, which according to article 638 of Islamic Criminal Justice carries a prison sentence.

“Furthermore, the action of this film star has hurt the religious sentiments of the proud and martyrs breeding nation of Iran and as such we also demand the punishment of flogging for her as stipulated in the law.

Subsequently, Hatami has apologized.

“I am so sorry for hurting the feelings of some people,” she wrote in a letter to Iran’s cinema organization, cited by IRNA.

She underlined her respect for Islamic rules of behavior in public, but festival president Gilles Jacob, 83, “had forgotten the aforementioned rules, which comes with old age.

“My pre-emptive action of hand shaking was fruitless,” Hatami wrote, explaining the kiss.

Writing in the Jerusalem Post, Benjamin Weinthal put the Cannes kiss controversy into the context of a larger “war on women” in Iran.

“Morality police” chase down women who violate the country’s dress codes and mete out oral warnings and fines. Some women were taken into custody.

The clerical, male establishment posture toward the female gender recalls the Irish author Oscar Wilde’s famous line about fundamentalist orthodoxy: ‘Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people whom we personally dislike.”

Last month, Iran was elected to the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women.

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