Iranian state TV offered a rare apology after broadcasting a professed female expert on religious issues advising women to comfort husbands, even those who are violent or addicted to drugs, by massaging and kissing their feet.
Dressed in a black chador, or cloak, the interviewee told viewers that the attention, which should begin with the feet being washed with milk and rose petals, will “keep your husband charged for a month” and show him “the magic of love.”
The clip was shared heavily on messaging apps like Telegram, where it sparked a slew of angry and derisory comments. Others complained to Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, prompting the network that’s run by hardline conservatives to express regret.
“We will seek to compensate for this matter with better planning and more awareness in how we deliver content,” IRIB said in a statement last week, according to the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency.
The video, which inspired parodies featuring unattractive feet, emerged amid a period of heightened unrest and debate in Iran.
At least 29 women have been arrested in recent days for challenging the compulsory wearing of the veil. The protests — in which women stood bare-headed in streets — followed major demonstrations that started in late December over the economy but then morphed into a broader denunciation of the establishment.
Iran’s politically moderate health minister, Hassan Ghazizadeh Hashemi, raised the clip in a joint public appearance with one of the country’s most high-profile female leaders, Masoumeh Ebtekar, vice president for women’s and family affairs.
Ebtekar laughs nervously in a recording of the chat. “These things should be two-sided, the man has to also do this for the woman,” she said.