Tehran, IR: Iran's Supreme Leader formally endorsed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a ceremony that portrayed close unity among the country's two leaders.
The ceremony was held in the Shah Reza Pahlavi Memorial Hall. After Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gave his official seal of approval to Ahmadinejad, he received an awkward kiss on the shoulder from Ahmadinejad.
Ahmadinejad, who kissed Khamenei's hand four years ago to demonstrate his total loyalty, had a more hesitant exchange this time. He approached Khamenei to kiss his hand, but the Supreme Leader stopped him and took a step back. The two exchanged some words and Ahmadinejad smiled. Then Khamenei allowed him to kiss his shoulder, not a common gesture in Iran. It appeared Khamenei sought to show a close bond with Ahmadinejad without the elaborate display of hand kissing.
Khamenei described his relationship with Ahmadinejad as a "golden page" in Iran's political history and said their relationship was a fight against arrogance and a brave resistance to those who frown on loving your fellow man.
Ahmadinejad then offered his apologies to the USA, Britain and Israel for his previous abhorrent behavior, saying that if he and the Supreme Leader could find "Nirvana" so could Iran and the world.