Kate Middleton and the Iranian: when a snub is not a snub
Duchess of Cambridge knew in advance that athlete would not want to shake her hand, says Palace
NEVER let the facts spoil a good headline. Under the banner 'Duchess of Cambridge "snubbed" by Iranian athlete at Paralympics', The Daily Telegraph reports today on how an Iranian athlete refused to shake hands with Kate Middleton – aka the Duchess for Cambridge – when she went to present him with a silver medal in the F42 men's discus yesterday.
Mehrdad Karam Zadeh, who finished second behind British athlete Aled Davies, snubbed the Duchess for "cultural reasons", it has emerged. Though the Iranian delegation in London was unavailable to comment on the specifics, the Telegraph claims that "had the medal been presented by a man, Zadeh would have shaken his hand. Similarly, had the Duchess presented the medal to a female Iranian athlete they would not have hesitated to shake hands."
The Telegraph makes the point that diplomatic relations between the two countries are not what they might be. There have repeated threats to "wipe Israel off the map" and continued anxiety over Iran's nuclear intentions. Only yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the international community to get tougher against Tehran. "Iran must not have a nuclear weapon," he said.
But what about the "snub"? The Telegraph actually quotes a spokesman for St James's Palace saying the Duchess "was aware" that a handshake would be impossible.
Said the spokesman: "Many male athletes from Islamic countries do not shake hands in public with women they are not related [to] for cultural and religious reasons.
"The Duchess was informed in advance and was happy to accept his wishes. She considered it an honour to present the medals."