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President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad under fire for hugging Chavez's mother

Associated Press
Mar 12, 2013 at 04:43pm IST

Tehran: Senior Iranian clerics have criticized President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for consoling Hugo Chavez's mother with a hug - a physical contact considered a sin under the country's strict Islamic codes.

The controversy follows a widely published photo showing Ahmadinejad embracing Chavez's mother at the funeral of the late Venezuelan president.

Iranian papers on Tuesday cited clerics from the religious center of Qom who described the contact as "forbidden" and inappropriate behavior and "clowning around."

Ahmadinejad under fire for hugging Chavez's mother

Senior Iranian clerics have criticized President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for consoling Hugo Chavez's mother with a hug.

Iran's strict Islamic codes prohibit physical contact between unrelated members of the opposite sex.

The conservative clerics also condemned Ahmadinejad's condolence letter to Venezuelans in which he called Chavez a "martyr" who will be resurrected and who will return to Earth along with Jesus Christ and Imam Mahdi, a 9th century saint revered by Shiite Muslims.

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