Iran media blooper: German female minister mistaken as man, sparked outrage over handshake

Tehran: Iranian media and social networks have blasted a handshake between Germany’s female environment minister Barbara Hendricks and Iran’s female vice president Masoumeh Ebtekar on Thursday.


The state television station IRIB has mistaken the short-haired German minister for a man. Later Iran’s Tasnim news agency confirmed that Hendricks is a woman who “looks like a man.”

The IRIB studio in Berlin also clarified that the TV-report did not say that Ebterkar shook a man’s hand and was therefore not responsible for the related wrong impressions caused by the pictures.

Ebtekar served as the spokeswoman for the Iranians who took 52 Americans hostage in 1979 and seized the US Embassy.

Sadegh Ghorbani, a Tehran- based journalist tweeted.“This handshake [created an] uproar for [a] few hours in conservative media & social network pages. They thought the #Germanminister is a man. #Iran.”

Shaking a male stranger’s hand is strictly prohibited in Iran. Tehran also mandates a public policy of strict separation between men and women.