Iranian Actress Leila Hatami Apologizes for Cannes Kiss After Flogging Threat

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Following threats of flogging, Iranian Actress Leila Hatami has issued an apology for publicly kissing Cannes Film Festival president Gilles Jacob on the cheek.

“I am so sorry for hurting the feelings of some people,” she wrote in a letter to the Iran Cinema Organization. “My pre-emptive action of hand shaking was fruitless.”

Hatami, who starred in the Oscar-winning foreign language pic “A Separation,” said she respects Islamic rules of behavior, which prohibit unrelated men and women from touching in public. She said Jacob “had forgotten the aforementioned rules, which comes with old age.”

“In my eyes, he is certainly like an old grandfather who was also my host,” she wrote of the 83-year-old.

Jacob gave Hatami a peck on the cheek at the opening night of Cannes during the world premiere of “Grace of Monaco” on May 14. She was a Cannes jury member this year.

Hizbullah Students, a group of women linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, have since filed a complaint, calling for her to be imprisoned and lashed over the incident.

“Those who attend intentional events should take heed of the credibility and chastity of Iranians so that a bad image of Iranian women will not be demonstrated to the world,” Deputy Minister of Islamic Culture Hossein Noushabadi said.

However, Hatami said the situation was out of her hands.

“Although I am embarrassed to give these explanations, I had no choice but to go into details for those who could not understand the inevitable situation that I was stuck in.”

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