Iranian provincial governor slapped in the face during inauguration

·2-min read

The inauguration of a new governor of a province in Iran was dramatically interrupted by an angry man who slapped the new office-bearer across his face.

The motive for the attack remains unclear although one report suggested he was upset that his wife had received her coronavirus vaccination from a male rather than female nurse.

Another report referred to it as a personal dispute and suggested the governor and his attacker had served in the same military corps.

It was a rare breach of security for the Islamic Republic during a ceremony which the country's interior minister was attending.

The new governor, Brig. Gen. Abedin Khorram, once served in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards and had reportedly been kidnapped by rebel forces in Syria.

Shortly after he took the podium in Tabriz, the capital of Iran's Eastern Azerbaijan province, a man strode from offstage and swung at the official.

State television broadcast the crowd gasping in shock and the sound system amplifying the sound of the slap itself.

Several seconds later plainclothes security officials reached the man and dragged him through a side door, knocking down a curtain.

More footage showed Mr Khorram tell the unsettled crowd, all of whom were standing: "I do not know him of course but you should know that, although I did not want to say it, when I was in Syria I would get whipped by the enemy 10 times a day and would be beaten up.

"More than 10 times, they would hold a loaded gun to my head. I consider him on a par with those enemies but forgive him."

Another man on stage shouted "Death to the hypocrites!", a common cry used to refer to exiled opposition groups and others who have denounced the Islamic Revolution.

Despite Mr Khorram's statement that he did not know the attacker, Iran's state-run IRNA news agency described the man was a member of the Ashoura Corps which Khorram had overseen.

IRNA described the attacker's motivations as "personal" without elaborating.

Mr Khorram was nominated to serve as the provincial government by Iran's parliament led by President Ebrahim Raisi.

He was among 48 Iranians held hostage in Syria in 2013 who were later released in exchange for some 2,130 rebels, according to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington-based think tank that long has been critical of Iran.

Watch: French President Emmanuel Macron slapped during crowd walkabout

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