The picture of Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad offering condolences to Elena Frias, mother of Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez’, during the funeral service has created quite a controversy.
The fact that all he was doing was giving comfort to his late friend’s mother has not sit well with many, least of all his own country’s conservative Muslim leaders who feel Ahmadinejad's actions were inappropriate.
Religious conservatives said his actions were unlawful in the light of Islam which forbids touching women outside his family.
The controversy over the image deepened when both an aide to the president and a major Iranian newspaper said the photograph had been doctored. However, the accusation was later withdrawn.
Ahmadinejad's condolence letter to Venezuelans has also raised a lot of ire. 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.
Mohammed Dehghan, a member of the Iranian parliament, called for religious scholars to confront Ahmadinejad’s "un-Islamic" acts.
We personally feel a lot has been made out of nothing. Ahmedinejad is simply mourning a friend, and probably the only one who he could associate with and relate to when it came to hating the US and all its spawns!
However, his distress was apparent during the entire funeral service where Ahmedinejad appeared visibly moved and shaken.
He really will be missing his friend.
Hugo Chavez’ funeral took place at the Military Academy in Caracas on March 8th, 2013. Chavez will be embalmed and put on display "for eternity" at a military museum after a state funeral and an extended period of lying in state.