• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Red face for Green head who high-fived Iran rep

The Local · 10 Feb 2013, 13:28

Published: 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.

Story continues below…

“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
Merkel party leader admits sexism is a problem
Jenna Behrends complained that a member of CDU's Berlin government had called her a "big sweet mouse" in front of a large group. Photo: Sophia Kembowski/dpa

A leader of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative party admitted Sunday that it has a problem with sexism in its ranks.

Ethiopia's Bekele nears record as wins Berlin marathon
Participants in the Berlin marathon take to the streets on Sunday. Photo:Paul Zinken/dpa

Kenenisa Bekele narrowly missed out on the world record on Sunday as the Ethiopian won the Berlin marathon ahead of former winner Wilson Kipsang.

Europe needs deals to send migrants home: Merkel
Angela Merkal poses with Bulgaria's Prime minister Boyko Borissov (L) and Austrian chancellor Christian Kern (R) in Vienna. Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP

Europe needs to secure more deals to send rejected migrants home, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has told counterparts in Vienna.

Germany sees 'turning point' in birth rate decline
Children at a a kindergarten in Swabia. Photo: Nikolaus Lenau/Flickr

Is Germany's three-decade decline in birth rate now over?

Trump protesters rebuild and tear down 'Berlin Wall'
The 'Stop Trump' protest at the Brandenburg Gate. Photo: DPA.

US expats gathered at the Berlin's iconic Brandenburg Gate on Friday "rebuild" the Berlin Wall and protest US presidential candidate Donald Trump's own proposed wall-building.

Accusation of sexism within Merkel's party creates uproar
Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen and Chancellor Angela Merkel, two leading women in the CDU party. Photo: DPA.

A young politician from the ranks of Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has caused a storm by suggesting that the party is institutionally sexist.

EasyJet 'in talks to buy German airline' to duck Brexit
Photo: DPA

EasyJet is in talks to acquire TUIfly, a board member of the German carrier said Friday, as the British no-frills airline looks for ways to keep flying freely within the EU after Britain quits the bloc.

Symbols of migrant plight to go on show in Bonn museum
Photo: DPA

A people smugglers' car, a dinghy and a life jacket are among items related to Europe's migration crisis due to go on display at a German museum.

Brexit
Green party demand 'quick and easy' citizenship for Brits
Photo: DPA

The Green party has called for Brits living in Germany to be offered a painless path to obtaining dual citizenship as to "reassure them over the future".

Berlin the new London? 10m2 flat to rent for €750 a month
Photo: Immonet.de.

This shoebox apartment in the gentrified Bergmann-Kiez neighbourhood may be a sign that the tides are turning for Berlin’s comparatively cheap housing market.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
National
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
5,651
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd