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It is that simple “you kiss someone on the cheek and the next day you face a call to be publicly flogged.”

That is what happened with Iranian actress Leila Hatami when she gave Giles Jacob, Cannes festival president, a perk on the cheek.  Leila Hatami is the star of the Oscar-winning movie “A Separation” directed by Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi.

Leila Hatami was condemned for “representing a bad image of Iranian women”. In addition to that, Hizbullah’s students (a group related to Iran’s revolutionary guards) called Ms. Hatami to be sued and to be flogged for kissing a strange man.

 “We, the undersigned, who are a group of student Muslim brothers and sisters, ask the cultural and media branch of the judiciary to prosecute Leyla Hatami for her sinful act of kissing a strange man in public, which according to article 638 of Islamic Criminal Justice carries a prison sentence. Furthermore, the action of this film star has hurt the religious sentiments of the proud and martyrs breeding nation of Iran and as such we also demand the punishment of flogging for her as stipulated in the law", reported The Telegraph.

According to the Iranian Sharia, women are not supposed to have physical contact with an unrelated man and they are supposed to wear Hijab and to hide their hair.  During the Cannes festival, Ms. Hatami did violate both rules!

I am not defending Ms. Hatami because she is a woman; I just want to tell you that things like this still happen in the world: a woman may be flogged for kissing a man or for showing her hair. What is happening in Iran is unacceptable, and it is an unjustified violation for human’s rights. I consider Ms. Hatami lucky because her position as a movie star will give her case a wider media attention. These same acts of iniquity are targeting a huge number of Iranian citizens. A serious intervention is required; Ms. Hatami’s case may be a great opportunity to get the world’s true attention of what is happening in Iran.