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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addresses the 68th United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, September 24, 2013.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addresses the 68th United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, September 24, 2013.
(BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS)

PATRICK MARTIN

The handshake, the Holocaust, the Torah: Iran's new symbolic vocabulary

The handshake: It’s a ritual that goes back at least to the 5th century BCE, wherein two people, more often men than women, clasp each other’s hand. Originally meant to show you held no weapon, it’s used as a sign of greeting, a farewell gesture or a mark of agreement as good as a signed contract – “We shook on it.”