He flaunts his ideological fervour with pride, but President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been accused of undermining Iran's Islamic revolution after television footage appeared to show him watching a female song and dance show. Allies have attacked the famously austere Mr Ahmadinejad after he attended a lavish opening ceremony for the 15th Asian Games in Qatar, a showpiece event involving 13,000 athletes from 45 countries and regions. The ceremony featured routines from Indian and Egyptian dancers and singing by female vocalists. Many performers were not wearing veils. Women are forbidden to sing and dance before a male audience under Iran's Islamic legal code. Officials are expected to excuse themselves from such engagements when abroad. TV pictures showed Mr Ahmadinejad sitting with President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and Ismail Haniyeh, the Palestinian prime minister, during Friday's ceremony in Doha. Now religious fundamentalists, usually Mr Ahmadinejad's supporters, are demanding to know why he attended a ceremony that flagrantly violated his government's strict interpretation of Shia Islam. The Baztab website, considered close to Mohsen Rezaee - a former Revolutionary Guard commander with links to powerful sections of Iran's political hierarchy - reported that the leader's presence had offended Shiites. 'The failure of Ahmadinejad to object and his constant presence has damaged the image of Iran's Islamic revolution and its commitment to Islamic rules in contrast with the Arab countries in the Persian Gulf,' the website wrote. The president's aides have embarked on a frantic damage limitation exercise, insisting he was not present during the singing and dancing. His press secretary, Ali Akbar Javanfekr, claimed Mr Ahmadinejad had left for Doha airport before the performance, and accused the media of focusing on 'fringe events'. But Baztab yesterday challenged the denial by posting footage which purportedly showed Mr Ahmadinejad still in his seat after the show.