Iran’s newspapers were dominated on Monday by accusations lawmakers had embarrassed themselves by clamoring to take selfies with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini during her visit to their parliament.
Mogherini was among dozens of foreign guests in Iran for the inauguration of President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday, but she appeared to capture the most attention as members of parliament crowded round to grab a snap with her.
Images of the lawmakers perched on desks and lining up with their smartphones in front of the Italian diplomat triggered a storm of anger and ridicule on Iranian social media under the hashtag “selfies of humiliation.”
“Dear MPs, thank you for disgracing 80 million people,” wrote one Twitter user.
Others drew comparisons with iconic images such as Walt Disney’s seven dwarves lining up to fawn over Snow White.
At least one lawmaker apologized for his lack of decorum, but the issue still dominated Monday’s front pages.
— Farnaz (@FAR_NAZ85) August 7, 2017
The reformist Ghanoon daily had a cartoon of Mogherini in the style of Edvard Munch’s famous painting “The Scream,” with Iranian parliamentarians peeping from the corners with their mobile phones snapping away.
The episode “shows the lack of proper education in the country,” it wrote in its editorial.
But the ultra-conservative Kayhan newspaper did not see the funny side.
“Those who are supposed to defend the rights of the nation against the enemy queue up to snap photos in a humiliating way with the violators,” it said.
Mogherini, who held talks with Rouhani as part of the European Union’s bid to rebuild trade ties with Iran, did not comment on the controversy.