Iranian Cinema: Star Leila Hatam to be Punished for Kissing Cannes Director

Iranian actress Leila Hatam, the star of Oscar-winning film A Separation, is causing a stir in her home country after publicly kissing Cannes president Gilles Jacob.

Under Iran’s strict Islamic regime, unrelated men and women are not allowed to touch or kiss each other in public.

Hizbullah Students, a group of university students linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, filed a complaint against the actress this week.  She must be flogged for “kissing a strange man,” they said in the petition.

The kiss, a simple peck on the cheek, took place at the world premiere of “Grace of Monaco” last Wednesday. It was also the opening night of the 67th Cannes Film Fest in France.

The petition adds, “We, the undersigned, who are a group of student Muslim brothers and sisters, ask the cultural and media branch of the judiciary to prosecute Leila Hatami for her sinful act of kissing a strange man in public, which according to article 638 of Islamic Criminal Justice carries a prison sentence.”

Adding, “Furthermore, the action of this film star has hurt the religious sentiments of the proud and martyrs breeding nation of Iran and as such we also demand the punishment of flogging for her as stipulated in the law.”

Hatami, the daughter of popular Iranian director Ali Hatami, is married with two children.