A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Photo Follies: Ahmadinejad Just Can't Win

Comforting Hugo Chavez' Mother
For a term-limited guy with only limited friends abroad and not many more at the moment at home, the photo of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad embracing Hugo Chavez' mother at the Venezuelan President's funeral should have seemed like a nice touch showing the Iranian President's human side.

But no: needless to say, hardline clerics denounced him; it's haram to embrace an unrelated woman unless she's drowning, say the clerics. As Robert Mackey notes at the New York Times' The Lede blog, his own supporters quickly claimed it was a sinister Photoshop by the Western media. But the photos they produced as the "real" ones were clear Photoshops, while the photo at left was from Venezuelan media, not Western, and there's video that appears to show the same thing.

So the one moment that might have given him a human side in Western eyes is being strenuously if unconvincingly denied. If  there's some kind of international prize for being hoist by your own PR, Ahmadinejad should win.

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