Iranian Actress May Get Flogged For Kissing A Strange Man At Cannes

Sameera Ehteram
Iranian actress Leila Hatami could be publicly flogged in her country for a harmless peck on the cheek at Cannes.

Behold…. the peck that could land this lady in deep trouble. In fact, it probably already has.

Iranian actress Leila Hatami, star of Oscar-winning film A Separation, stirred up a controversy in her home country while in Cannes by kissing Gilles Jacob, the president of the festival, on the cheek at the red carpet.

It wasn’t even a kiss - just a cursory peck.

But in her country, the behavior means a blatant disregard of Islamic norms, punishable by public flogging. 

Hizbullah Students, a group of university students with links to Iran's Revolutionary Guard, have filed a complaint against the actress. 

She must be flogged for "kissing a strange man," they demand. 

The petition demands, "We, the undersigned, who are a group of student Muslim brothers and sisters, ask the cultural and media branch of the judiciary to prosecute Leila 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." 

Adding, "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."

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Under Iran's strict religious regime, unrelated men and women cannot touch each other, let alone embrace or kiss each other.

Hatami was already causing a stir back home because of her headscarf that was loose enough to reveal the crown of her head. 

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Leila Hatami is the daughter of legendary Iranian Director, Ali Hatami, and actress, Zari Khoshkam aka Zahra Hatami, and has been acting since childhood.

Works under her belt include the likes of the historical TV series, Hezar dastan (1978), and biopic Kamalolmolk (1984), as well as a role as Leila, the blind Turkish princess in the film The love-stricken (1992). She also starred in The Deserted Station (2002), Portrait of a Lady Far Away (2005) and of course the internationally acclaimed A Separation (2011).

She married is married to Iranian actor Ali Mosaffa  and has two children.