Iranian politicians have been criticised for unprofessional behaviour “unworthy of MPs” after they rushed to take selfies with a senior female EU diplomat.
Pictures circulated online showed male politicians – some in suits and others in the robes worn by Shi’ite Islamic clerics – crowding around Federica Mogherini, who was attending Hassan Rouhani’s second term inauguration as President.
In a green and white checked headscarf, Ms Mogherini, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, looked taken aback at the crowd forming around her in the Iranian Parliament building in Tehran.
The men’s actions drew criticism from fellow MPs and Iranians online, who saw their behaviour as an inappropriate sop to the west.
The semi-official Fars News Agency described the men’s rush for photos with Ms Mogherini, as “strange”, accompanying images with the hashtag “selfie of shame”.
“Major reactions to weird behaviour unworthy of MPs, members of Omid faction, upon meeting Mogherini”, the agency said, referring to a reformist group of Iranian MPs.
Other social media users mocked the politicians. One compared their attraction to Ms Mogherini to the seven dwarves’ fondness for Snow White in the classic Walt Disney story, using an image of them lining up at the foot of her bed.
Others published pictures of the incident alongside that of Monica Belluci in the film Malena, in which the actress is surrounded by men offering to light her cigarette. Another commented on the EU diplomat’s popularity in the Iranian parliament.
Reformist MP Ahmad Mazani, one of the men who appeared to ask for a photograph with Ms Mogherini, said on Twitter that they had not been allowed to greet her during the parliamentary session, and hence the reason for their eagerness to approach her afterwards.
But Sadegh Kharrazi, a former Iranian diplomat, called for “a unit of ethics and ethics training for delegates” in response to the controversial photos.
MP Alireza Salimi, called the behaviour “self-surrender to the West” and said that further complaints against the men could trigger a inquiry into their conduct, according to the BBC. Ms Mogherini released a statement on her trip to Iran but did not comment on the images.
In April the EU extended sanctions against Iran over human rights violations.
Conservatives among the…