Reports claiming that Cristiano Ronaldo, the Al-Nassr forward, would face 99 lashes in Iran for kissing artist Fatemeh Hamami have been debunked by Iranian authorities.
Last month, while Ronaldo was in Iran with his Saudi Pro League club to play against Persepolis in the AFC Champions League, he met with Hamami in Tehran.
Hamami, who is paralyzed, presented Ronaldo with two portraits she had painted with her feet.
During their meeting, Ronaldo embraced and kissed her on the head.
Subsequently, there were allegations that lawyers in Iran had charged the five-time Ballon d’Or winner with committing adultery, as Iranian law strictly prohibits intimate gestures between unmarried individuals of the opposite sex.
However, a statement from the Iranian embassy in Spain read: “We strongly deny the issuance of any court ruling against any international athlete in Iran.
“It is a matter of concern that the publication of such unfounded news could overshadow crimes against humanity and war crimes against the oppressed Palestinian nation.
“It should be noted that Cristiano Ronaldo travelled to Iran on September 18 and 19 to play in an official football match and was very well received by the people and the authorities. His sincere and humane meeting with Fatemeh Hamami was also praised and admired by both the people and the country’s sports authorities.”