• Germany edition
 
Red face for Green head who high-fived Iran rep
Photo: YouTube screenshot

Red face for Green head who high-fived Iran rep

Published: 10 Feb 2013 13:28 GMT+01:00
Updated: 10 Feb 2013 13:28 GMT+01:00

Press video footage showed Roth, who has consistently criticized Iran's treatment of women, giving a high-five to Iranian ambassador Ali Reza Sheik Attar as she made her way to her seat at last weekend's international security conference.

In an incident lasting all of four seconds, Attar surprised Roth by raising his hand in the friendly, typically American gesture, which she returned with gusto and without hesitation.

Since being appointed Iranian ambassador to Germany in 2008, Attar has been busy deflecting criticism of Iran's human rights record, often from Roth herself.

The bizarre exchange was captured on film by Reuters news agency and used as a filler in a piece on the discussion about Iran's nuclear program. But once the exchange was spotted, Roth came under growing pressure to explain herself and received a slamming from the press, as the images circulated on social networks over the weekend.

The accusation was that Roth was friends with, and shared approving, grinning gestures with a man who had had opponents hanged when he was a governor of Kurdistan in the 1980's.

But the ambassador also found himself in an awkward position - his beliefs do not permit him to shake hands with a woman, but he felt he should acknowledge Roth.

“The ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran never shakes hands with a woman, and he has never shaken Claudia Roth's hand either,” a spokesman told the Süddeutsche Zeitung on Friday. The ambassador had attempted a polite greeting, without having to actually shake Roth's hand, he suggested.

“Completely surprised by this unexpected gesture,” Claudia Roth responded with a “quick touch of the ambassador's hand,” said the spokesman.

Roth had meant to be polite, he said, as she was in the middle of ultimately unsuccessful negotiations with the diplomat to lift the travel ban on Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi. The banned director, who is under house arrest in Iran, had hoped to travel to the Berlinale film festival for the premiere of his film Pardé (Closed Curtain) on Tuesday.

The Local/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

14:31 February 10, 2013 by pepsionice
If you had to go and pick the one person out of the Bundestag who probably should not have been put into a public position....It's Claudia. The Greens have stuck with her for several decades, but she is one of those people who just wanders around and does stupid things in public....which the media tries to avoid noticing. If she was CDU, she would have been let go a decade ago.
15:15 February 10, 2013 by Englishted
She is more embarrassing when she sings on "the Chart show " on German t.v.
16:59 February 10, 2013 by Wrench
Whoever has sex with this woman should be fined under the new zoophile law.
21:16 February 10, 2013 by Eric1
Why do leftist support such horrible dictators and bigots, while all the time calling people who aren't bigots and dictators, bigots and dictators. Just a bunch of screwed up people.
10:32 February 11, 2013 by Englishted
@ Eric1

Please rearrange the following:

Kettle pot calling the black the.

Thank you.
Today's headlines
Frankfurt court lifts national Uber ban
Uber manager for Germany Fabien Nestmann leaves the Frankfurt court on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Frankfurt court lifts national Uber ban

App-based chauffeur car service Uber is no longer illegal in Germany, a Frankfurt court ruled on Tuesday afternoon. READ  

Chef admits Düsseldorf killing spree
Yanquing in court in Düsseldorf on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Chef admits Düsseldorf killing spree

A gunman who killed three people in Düsseldorf and injured four others in a shooting spree at two lawyers’ offices admitted his guilt on Tuesday. READ  

Man dies six days after chemical blast
The plant was destroyed in the explosion. Photo: DPA

Man dies six days after chemical blast

An engineer who was called to fix a defect at a chemical waste plant which then exploded has died of his injuries – six days after the huge blast near Bremen. READ  

German universities tumble in global rankings
Students at Heidelberg University. Photo: DPA

German universities tumble in global rankings

Three-quarters of German universities have fallen in global standings in the last year, with just one institution among the top 50 in the world, according to rankings released on Tuesday. READ  

Germany prepares to send drones to Ukraine
A Luna drone belonging to the German military. Photo: DPA

Germany prepares to send drones to Ukraine

German unmanned drones could soon be flying over eastern Ukraine to keep an eye on pro-Russian rebel troop movements. READ  

'Why I'm camping for six days outside Apple store'
Photo: The Local

'Why I'm camping for six days outside Apple store'

Most holidaymakers on a week-long camping trip pitch up by lakes or next to the beach. But two Berliners are hoping to break a record by settling in for six days outside the city's Apple Store to be the first to get their hands on new iPhone 6. READ  

Netflix launches in Germany (in English too)
Some of the cast of Orange is the New Black at a photocall in Mexico. Photo: DPA

Netflix launches in Germany (in English too)

UPDATE: TV streaming service Netflix opened its virtual doors in Germany on Tuesday in the face of stiff competition from existing players. Users will be able to watch hit shows and movies in English on the German service. READ  

Auschwitz guard charged over 300,000 deaths
The gates at the former concentration camp of Auschwitz. Photo: DPA

Auschwitz guard charged over 300,000 deaths

A 93-year old man from Lower Saxony will stand trial for 300,000 counts of accessory to murder at the Auschwitz death camp while a member of the Waffen-SS. READ  

Germany can't crack 'CIA double agent' laptop
Photo: DPA

Germany can't crack 'CIA double agent' laptop

An alleged CIA double agent secured his laptop so well that German secret services have failed to crack it since he was arrested in July, according to reports. READ  

Lufthansa pilots abandon Frankfurt strike plans
Ready to go again. Photo: DPA

Lufthansa pilots abandon Frankfurt strike plans

UPDATE: Pilots' union Cockpit has announced that a planned strike at Frankfurt Airport on Tuesday has been called off. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Marks & Spencer
Sponsored Article
Fashion Ladies of the Local: Win a New Autumn Look
Photo: DPA
Politics
These men want to be the next mayor of Berlin
Photo: Shutterstock
Business & Money
The three types of firms hiring foreigners
Photo: DPA
National
Neo-Nazis are attacking newspaper offices
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Election night in Brandenburg and Thuringia
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Berlin spy station sees tourism boom
Photo: DPA/ESA
Tech
VIDEO: How one German astronaut sees Earth
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Frisky couple shock Berlin commuters
Photo: DPA
Politics
Are Germans right to want cooler relations with USA?
Photo: Bayernpartei/DPA
Politics
Why some Bavarians want a Scottish 'Yes'
Photo: DPA
Gallery
12 things to do in Berlin for less than a latte
Photo: Facebook
National
Bavarian waiter breaks beer-carrying record
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,281
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd