Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi expressed his outrage on Tuesday at the latest remarks by Deputy Culture Minister for Cinematic Affairs Javad Shamaqdari on the hijab, the Islamic dress code for women.
According to some unofficial sources, Shamaqdari questioned the necessity of the Hijab in his response to a person criticizing the alleged difficulty of wearing the hijab by Iranian and foreign guests of the 28th Fajr International Film Festival.
"Where does Quran say and which verse declares that the hijab is obligatory," the sources quoted Shamaqdari as saying.
However, Shamaqdari's office denied the remarks, accusing the sources of tarnishing the image of the Iranian officials.
"Newspapers have reported that certain individuals have snubbed the verses of Quran in order to provide a freer atmosphere at the Fajr Film Festival," Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi said.
He said they are not certain about the reports yet, but warn they would take serious action against the issue if the reports prove to be accurate.
Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi also criticized the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance over granting screening licenses for some of the films in his speech in Qom, the home of Iran's major Islamic seminaries. However, no specific titles were mentioned for the films in question.
Culture Ministry officials recently revised their decisions on 13 filmmakers' requests for screening licenses for their films, which had been banned over the past five years, in order to allow them to premiere during the Fajr festival.
Eleven out of the 13 films were granted screening licenses after their producers and director agreed to cut scenes.
Meanwhile, "Journey to Hidalou", a film which was at one time banned because of a sex scandal involving its actress, and "Fire Keeper", a comedy on vasectomy in Iran by director Mohsen Amiryusefi, were rejected again.
Shamaqdari has said that they may need a fatwa to lift the ban on the premiere of "Journey to Hidalou".
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