Iranian actress Leila Hatami is facing harsh punishment from a group of activists in her home country after a photograph surfaced of her greeting Cannes Film Festival President Gilles Jacob with a kiss on the cheek.
According to the Telegraph, a group of university Hizbullah Students, who have links to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, filed a complaint with Iran’s judiciary regarding the picture. The complaint cited article 638 of Iran's Islamic Criminal Justice in its call for Hatami to be flogged for the offense that equates to “kissing a strange man,” which can lead to a maximum sentence of 50 lashes.
Jacob dismissed the greeting as a common custom in his country.
“I kissed Mrs. Hatami on the cheek. At that moment, for me she represented all Iranian cinema, then she became herself again,” said Jacob, according to the Independent.
Because the kiss took place in Cannes and not in Hatami’s native Iran, it is unclear whether or not the photograph is justifiable evidence for a punishment. Whether or not the court will respond to the students' request is also uncertain.
Hatami is most well-known throughout the United States for her role in A Separation, the Iranian drama film which won the 2012 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. She curently resides in Iran.