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Female German parliament member caught high fiving Iranian diplomat

By Mason White 10:59 AM February 12, 2013
Claudia Roth, a German parliament member high fiving the Iranian ambassador, Ali Reza Sheikh Attar 

By: Ryan Lee Hall
(Scroll down for video) Iranian officials are not supposed to shake hands with females, but that didn’t prevent the Iranian diplomat to Germany from high fiving a German female parliament member, according to video uploaded to the internet.

The head of the Green Party of Germany and the Iranian ambassador in Berlin were left scrambling for explanations after video emerged of the two apparently high fiving each other at a conference.

Claudia Roth has been an ardent critic of Iran, especially in its treatment of women, while the religious custom dictates that Ali Reza Sheikh Attar, the Iranian ambassador, should not shake hands with a woman.

But this did not prevent the two from palm slaps as Roth greeted the smiling and sitting ambassador at a security conference in Munich.

The video of the high five has received wide coverage in the German press, and left both sides red-faced, as spokespersons tried to explain the unusual encounter.

“The Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran will not shake hands with a woman and has never shaken hands with Claudia Roth either,” a spokesperson for the Iranian embassy told a German newspaper.

He said that the ambassador had sought only a polite greeting or a wave, while the parliament member misunderstood it and responded with a quick tap of the hand to the ambassador. “He was completely surprised by this unexpected gesture,” the spokesperson continued.

A spokesperson for Roth attributed the high five for the ambassador because of knowing him for several years, but stressed that she remained committed to Iranian opposition movement.