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Iranian MP’s Selfies with Mogherini Lead To Controversy


An Iranian MP (C) uses a cell phone to take a "selfie" picture as EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini walks by during Rouhani's inauguration before parliament in Tehran, on August 5,

Iranian MPs’ selfies with the EU's top diplomat, Federica Mogherini have drawn heavy criticism from various Iranian circles.

Several photos have been published by the media showing Iranian MPs, some of them in unconventional manner, taking selfies with Mogherini after the inauguration ceremony of President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday.

Many Iranians, including some famous actors criticized and ridiculed the lawmakers and called the selfies a “humiliation”.

“How would they react if Ivanka Trump was there”, wrote Behnoosh Bakhtiairi, famous Iranian actress in an Instagram post.

“From Mogherini’s travel-memoir to Tehran: We love to impose sanctions on them, they love to take selfies with us,” reads a sarcastic comment posted by some Iranians on social media.

"Federica Mogherini in Tehran" a cartoon by Iranian cartoonist Shahrokh Heidari, showing Mogherini in front of a sign warning about selfies.
"Federica Mogherini in Tehran" a cartoon by Iranian cartoonist Shahrokh Heidari, showing Mogherini in front of a sign warning about selfies.

Conservative news outlets placed them next to the “selfie of honor”, a photo of General Ghasem Soleimani, the head of the Revolutionary Guards' elite Quds Force next to the fighters fighting in Syria.

Alireza Salimi, a member of the committee overseeing the conduct of Iranian MPs called the selfies with the European Union foreign policy chief, as "self-surrender to the West" and added the committee may officially investigate the case.

By taking a selfie with a famous international politician, Iranian MPs tried to score with their constituents and boost their own popularity, said Ehsan Mehrabi, an Iranian journalist living in Germany in an interview with Radio Farda.

“I wish the parliament would provide the MPs a training course on codes of conduct and moral values", wrote Sadegh Kharrazi, former Iranian ambassador to France, in a message on his instagram page.

Unlike diplomats, Iranian MPs do not receive any training on behavior and etiquette. They may just learn it through experience, said Mehrabi.

Even though the actions of the MPs were very embarrassing to many Iranians and drew a lot of criticism, but it was very unlikely that it could have any serious consequences for the individuals involved, added Mehrabi.

Iranian foreign ministry official Hassan Ghashghavi (R) uses a cell phone to take a picture of EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini (C) standing with Iranian MPs, after he told them it is better to take a group photo.
Iranian foreign ministry official Hassan Ghashghavi (R) uses a cell phone to take a picture of EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini (C) standing with Iranian MPs, after he told them it is better to take a group photo.

So far, at least one of the Iranian MPs has apologized for his behavior under public pressure, after a photo emerged showing him sitting on his desk with her back to Mogherini trying to take a selfie with her. Farajollah Rajabi, the representative of the southern Iranian city Shiraz called his own action as “violation of the dignity” of the MPs and expressed his “deep sorrow”.

As European Union foreign policy chief, Mogherini has been a strong advocate of the nuclear deal with Iran and called it a “historic achievement for the security of the region and of the whole world”.

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