03 Aug 2009 21:49
Iran's president gets cooler reception from top
[AP] Iran's supreme leader bestowed his formal endorsement on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's second term as president on Monday but withheld a powerful symbolic gesture -- the kisses and close embrace that portrayed their bond four years ago.
The awkward and halting moment came when Ahmadinejad leaned forward, apparently to kiss the hand of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. But the supreme leader raised his left hand and gently diverted Ahmadinejad to kiss his robe. The uneasy body language reflected much of the political tension and collateral damage since the disputed June 12 election sent Iran into its worst internal unrest since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Read
Photo: These combination of five sequential video frame grabs taken from Iranian state television show Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, right in the frames, greeting Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at an official endorsement ceremony in Tehran, Iran, Monday Aug. 3, 2009. Khamenei formally endorsed Ahmadinejad for a second term as president Monday in a ceremony that sought to portray unity among the country's leadership but was snubbed by prominent critics of the disputed election. After Khamenei gave his official seal of approval, he allowed Ahmadinejad to kiss his robe on his shoulder -- a noticeably more restrained gesture than four years ago when Ahmadinejad kissed the leader's hand and cheeks in a sign of closeness and loyalty. (AP Photo/Iranian TV via APTN)
Top photo: Ahmadinejad's second term. Bottom: His first term. Source: BBC Persian