Actress Sentenced to 74 Lashes for Kiss



A prominent Iranian actress has been given a suspended sentence of 74 lashes for kissing a young film director during an awards ceremony, newspapers reported on Thursday.
Respected film and television actress Gohar Kheirandish fell foul of the Islamic Republic's strict moral code last September when presenting the prize for best director at a festival in the central city of Yazd.

Physical contact in public between unrelated or unmarried men and women is taboo in Iran.

As she handed over the award Kheirandish shook the hand of Ali Zamani, a student of her late husband, and planted a kiss on his forehead.

The gesture, which Zamani later described as "motherly," provoked organized protests by local religious leaders and landed the pair in court.

Kheirandish's subsequent apology for causing any offence ensured that she was handed a suspended sentence, the English language Iran Daily newspaper said.

The sentence means that she will receive the 74 lashes only if she commits a similar offence again.