Former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami announced he will not run for president in the 2009 election, despite his popularity as a reformist candidate, following a scandal over an incident in Italy when he shook hands with a woman.
Such handshakes are generally forbidden under Islam except for between family members. Khatami denied the incident took place even as a video circulated on YouTube.
Radical clerics have circulated a petition calling for Khatami to be defrocked, and posters of Khatami have been defaced. Supporters see his decision to not run as capitulation to extremists.
“Handshake picture deals election blow to Iranian reformist”
Guardian (U.K.), August 3, 2007