Iranian athlete declines hand-shake with Kate Middleton

Duchess given “cultural snub” when Paralympian refused to shake her hand

Iranian athlete Mehrdad Karam Zadeh refused to shake hands with the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, after he was presented with a silver medal at the Paralympics.

The 40-year-old discuss thrower clutched his hands close to his chest and offered a polite bow towards Ms Middleton after receiving the silver medal from her.

Iranian cultural tradition dictates that men are forbidden from having physical contact with an unrelated female.

A representative from the palace told the Daily Mail that the Duchess of Cambridge has been briefed on the matter, and that she should not expect to receive a handshake.

"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 palace representative said.

The duchess was introduced to a huge cheer from a capacity crowd, but when she presented Zadeh with his medal it was noticeable that the 40 year-old athlete failed to shake her hand.

Bronze medallist Lezheng Wang and Davies both shook her hand after receiving their medals, with the Welshman exchanging words with the duchess, who has been a regular spectator at the Paralympics.

The Iranian delegation in London were unavailable for comment when contacted this morning, but they have told Games organisers that Zadeh’s actions were not politically motivated.

According to sources the Iranian’s actions were based on gender, with cultural convention preventing a man from shaking the hand of a woman.

The Iranians have said 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 ceremony was the first at which the Duchess of Cambridge presented medals. It was a “happy coincidence” that the first recipient was British, her spokesman said.

 

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