An Iranian actress has infuriated ultra conservatives in her home country after kissing the president of the Cannes film festival’s on the cheek.
Leila Hatami’s peck has been seen by fanatics as an affront to the ‘chastity’ of the Islamic republic’s women. A photograph carried by Iranian media shows Hatami pecking 83-year-old Gilles Jacob at the opening of this year’s festival.
Now Hizbullah Students, a group of university students with links to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard have filed a complaint with Iran’s judiciary for Hatami’s prosecution.
‘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,’ the petition read.
‘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.’
Deputy Culture Minister Hossein Noushabadi weighed in, quoted by the website of state broadcaster IRIB, he said: ’Those who attend intentional events should take heed of the credibility and chastity of Iranians, so that a bad image of Iranian women will not be demonstrated to the world,’ .
'Iranian woman is the symbol of chastity and innocence,' he said.
He said Hatami’s ‘inappropriate presence’ at the festival was ‘not in line with our religious beliefs’.
Born into a family with a background in cinema, Hatami gained worldwide fame for her role in Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation, which won the 2012 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
She is on the jury this year at the annual Cannes festival in southern France but lives in Iran.
Hatami is one of five women members on the Palme d’Or prize jury, which includes actress Carole Bouquet and directors Sofia Coppola and jury president Jane Campion.
According to Iran’s interpretation of Islamic (sharia) law, in place since the 1979 revolution, a woman is not allowed to have physical contact with a man outside her family.