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The Kiss That Nearly Wasn't: Ahmadinejad & Khamenei

In the end, a kiss on the shoulder. AP Photo/Iranian TV via APTN hide caption

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AP Photo/Iranian TV via APTN

Was it something he said? Or, as the official state news agency says, a cold?

Video of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at today's ceremony in Tehran where his re-election was given the formal seal of approval from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei shows a seemingly awkward moment. Ahmadinejad moves in as if to kiss the ayatollah's hand, as he has done before, but is rebuffed by the supreme leader. Instead, Ahmadinejad is allowed to kiss the leader's shoulder.

The Guardian and BBC News have video of the moment.

The Associated Press writes that "the official state news agency IRNA said Ahmadinejad had a cold, suggesting this was why he didn't kiss Khamenei's hand or cheek and instead kissed his clerical robe."