Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was accused by radical religious quarters of "indecency" on Wednesday after he publicly embraced and kissed on the hand his old school teacher.
At a ceremony on Tuesday ahead of Iranian Teachers' Day, Ahmadinejad was photographed and filmed by state media, kissing the woman's hand and then clasping her arms in an embrace. "The Muslim Iranian people have no recollection of such acts contrary to Sharia law during Islamic rule," since the 1979 revolution, read the ultra-conservative Iran's Hizbullah newspaper on its front page.
"This type of indecency progressively has grave consequences, like violating religious and sacred values," added the paper.
The elderly woman, who was not named, wore thick gloves along with a headscarf and long black coat, meaning that Ahmadinejad avoided any skin contact.
However, according to Sharia (Islamic) law, it is forbidden for a man to have any physical contact with a woman to whom he is not related.
It should be noted that this is not the first time the Iranian leaderhas been attacked by hardline elements. He has already sparked controversy when he unsuccessfully proposed women be allowed to attend football matches.
"This astonishing act by the president comes as the faithful have yet to forget his decision to allow women to watch football," noted the Hizbullah newspaper.
However other hardline publications published the images without further comment. "A kiss on the hand for the teacher," was the headline in the government daily Iran.