Iranian Tourism Minister Hamid Baghaei is outraged over reports that he shook hands with an Israeli at a fancy European party. Fearing vicious rumors of "Jew cooties," Baghaei is even threatening legal action against those who spread this "ugly and false rumor."
First exposed by Israeli media (which is generally more accepting of this kind of thing) the encounter was leaked by an advisor to Stas Misezhnikov, the Israeli who allegedly received Baghaei’s forbidden embrace (and who’s clearly tired of hiding, dammit). Misezhnikov must know he’s hurting Baghaei with his indiscretion but does not care. In Iran, caressing the hand of an Israeli man — with those strong Semitic fingers and warm palm calloused by years in the military — is considered taboo. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is somewhat old-fashioned and still has mixed feeling about the land of Israel.
Fully aware of the punishment for "pressing flesh" with Misezhnikov, Baghaei has no choice but to deny. (His predecessor, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, was fired for saying Iran was just "friends with the Israeli people.") In the future, Baghaei will surely exhibit more self-control when attending glamorous parties abroad. There’s been no information on whether or not Baghaei or Misezhnikov were wearing gloves at the time.