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No, international footballer Ronaldo will not be punished by Iran for embracing local artist

IN SHORT: Claims that Ronaldo will receive 99 lashes for hugging and kissing an Iranian artist have been circulating on social media. But the Iranian embassy in Spain says this is not true.

“RonaIdo guilty of AduItery in Iran and will receive 99 lashes,” reads a post on Facebook.

The post, dated 15 October 2023, features a video that has been viewed by over 11,000 people. 

Cristiano Ronaldo is a football player who plays in the Saudi Pro League. The 38-year-old forward was in Iran with his team Al Nassr for a match against Iranian club Persepolis in September.

The visit saw Ronaldo meeting with Fatemeh Hamami, a physically challenged Iranian artist who has painted portraits of the footballer using her feet. 

Hamami posted several Instagram posts of the meeting, where Ronaldo can be seen hugging her and kissing her on the head, after he accepted the portraits and gave her a signed football jersey.

Shariah is an interpretation of Islamic law practised in some countries, including Iran. The law provides guidelines on various aspects of life, including interactions between men and women. Punishing an offender with lashes from a cane is part of shariah. 

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But is it true that Ronaldo has been sentenced to 99 lashes for adultery? We checked.

RonaldoIran_False

Iran embassy denies reports

On 13 October, the Iranian embassy in Spain took to its account on X, formerly Twitter, to set the record straight. It said the claim that the country’s justice system had sentenced Ronaldo to 99 lashes for hugging or kissing a fan was not true.

The post was written in Spanish, but according to Google’s automatic translation, it read: “We strongly deny the issuance of any court ruling against any international athlete in Iran … His [Ronaldo’s] sincere meeting with Fatemeh Hamami was also praised and admired by both the people and the country's sports authorities.”

Hamami also called the report “fake news”. "Fake news makes me very sad and angry. I was very happy to see Cristiano and give him the paintings," she reportedly told sports news site Ole.com, also translated from the Spanish.

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