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In brief: Ahmadinejad criticized for hug

Tehran, Iran – Senior Iranian clerics have scolded President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for consoling Hugo Chavez’s mother with a hug – a physical contact considered a sin under Iran’s strict Islamic codes.

The rebuke follows a widely published photo showing Ahmadinejad embracing Chavez’s mother at the funeral of the late Venezuelan president in what is seen as taboo-breaking behavior in Iran.

Iranian papers on Tuesday cited clerics from the religious center of Qom who described the hug as “forbidden,” inappropriate behavior and “clowning around.”

Iran’s strict Islamic codes prohibit physical contact between unrelated members of the opposite sex.

The clerics did not spare Ahmadinejad.

Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, Iran’s former judiciary chief and a religious leader in Qom, said Ahmadinejad was “clowning around” and his hug shows he failed to “protect the dignity of his nation and his position.”

Man shot amid Palestinian protests

Jerusalem – Israeli troops shot to death a Palestinian man on Tuesday after he and others hurled rocks and firebombs at them in the West Bank, the military said.

The death was the latest in a new uptick in Palestinian casualties in the area, where protests in support of prisoners held in Israeli jails have led to violent clashes between the protesters and Israeli forces.

The protests have largely subsided.

Yatta hospital director Ziyad Abu Zahra identified the man killed as 25-year-old Mahmoud Titi and said he was shot in the head. An Associated Press photographer said the man was among dozens throwing rocks at Israeli troops near the city of Hebron.

A military spokeswoman said the incident was being reviewed.


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