The Iranian ambassador to Germany is insisting that he did not break Islamic law by touching a female member of parliament with a “high five” greeting because he says the contact was accidental.
The German magazine Spiegel reported last week that Ali Reza Sheik Attar was caught on video “high-fiving” MP Claudia Roth during a security meeting in Munich.
In the video clip, Attar is seen smiling and raising his hand as Roth approaches. She quickly slaps his palm as he appears to enthusiastically meet her hand with his.
But a statement from the Iranian embassy claimed that Attar had not broken Islamic law because he had not participated in the gesture.
“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 spokesperson told the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung.
For her part, Roth, who is a critic of Iran, also downplayed the incident.
A spokesperson said that Roth was committed to the “Iranian opposition movement,” but gave the ambassador a high five because they had known each other for years.
Watch this video from the Telegraph, broadcast Feb. 11, 2013.