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April 12, 2005

The handshake

The latest dispute over a "man date" is between Iranian President Mohammad Khatami and Israeli President Moshe Katsav. Did they shake hands at the Pope's funeral or not?

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami strongly denied shaking hands and chatting with Israeli President Moshe Katsav at Pope John Paul II's funeral, state-run media reported Saturday.

Following the pope's funeral on Friday, Katsav said he shook hands and chatted briefly with Khatami and the leader of another archenemy of Israel, Bashar Assad of Syria. Syria on Friday confirmed the handshake between Assad and Katsav, but played down its political significance.

But after returning to Iran, Khatami denied shaking Katsav's hand.

"These allegations are false like other allegations made by Israeli media and I have not had any meeting with any one from the Zionist regime," the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency quoted Khatami as saying.
Judith Weiss at Kesher Talk (from whom I got the link) comments: "Having committed the huge no-no of touching a Jew, Khatami is now doing frantic spin control. (Bubbe, the cooties do wash off.)" But I think that what Khatami is really concerned about is the suspicion this handshake may have created that he is another Iranian candidate for a sex-change operation.