Shoe thrown at Rouhani as he returns to Iran
President Rouhani has been greeted by supporters and hardliners after returning to Iran from the U.N. General Assembly session in New York. (Image credit: AFP)
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After his visit to the UN General Assembly, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was greeted by hardline Islamists who greeted him with angry chants and hurled a shoe in his direction.
The protestors chanted "Death to America" and "Death to Israel" as the president’s motorcade drew out of Tehran's Mehrabad Airport.
“The shoe missed the car and Rouhani stood up through the sunroof to acknowledge the crowds,” AFP reported.
The incident reflects the tightrope that the moderate Iranian President has to walk on, mending ties with the West, while appeasing hardliners at home. Earlier today, the U.S. President Barack Obama announced that he had spoken to his Iranian counterpart via telephone for 15 minutes. The conversation marked the highest level contact between the two countries since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
AFP reports that the Islamists were reportedly outnumbered by Rouhani supporters at the airport. Hundreds of supporters shouted “Thank You Rouhani” as the President’s motorcade left the airport.