“Iranian soccer players could face lashing after victory groping,” reports the Washington Post:
TEHRAN — Two Iranian soccer players who engaged in “inappropriate” celebratory behavior during a game broadcast on national television might face public lashings on the pitch, the semiofficial Fars News Agency reported Tuesday.
Members of parliament, sports officials and judges have called for the “swift punishment” of Mohammad Nosrati and Sheys Rezaei, two soccer stars who play for one of Iran’s most popular clubs, Tehran-based Persepolis.
After one of their teammates scored the winning goal of a 3-2 match on Saturday, ending a long losing streak, Nosrati pressed his hand into Rezaei’s behind as they and their teammates jumped on one another in celebration.
As millions watched on television, Nosrati appeared to be trying to push his hand between Rezaei’s buttocks. It remained unclear Wednesday whether Rezaei had engaged in a similar action earlier in the game.
Iran’s football federation immediately suspended both players for an unspecified period and fined them nearly $40,000 each, Fars reported. According to the federation’s Web site, the ban is indefinite because a final decision cannot be made until “other authorities” are consulted. …
According to the norms of ultra-conservative Iran, the players’ “action can be considered a violation of public chastity,” Judge Valiollah Hosseini told the news agency. “The punishment of this crime is prison up to two months and 74 lashes.”
“Victory groping” is a wonderful phrase.