Iranian Activist Criticizes Tightening Of 'Veil And Chastity' Rule
A prominent Iranian women's rights activist has
expressed concern about government plans to crack down on how women dress in
public, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.
Conservative officials in Iran say a proper veil covers all of a woman's hair.
Shadi Sadr, who lives in Germany, was sentenced in absentia earlier this month
to prison along with a fellow Iranian women's rights activist. She told Radio
Farda on May 18 that a tightening of the so-called "Veil and Chastity" plan was
an effort by the government to keep women at home.
Sadr, 35, said that "the problem is not women's veils or chastity, but their
presence in society." She added that the government was trying to send women
back to their homes in order to isolate them and prevent their social progress.
The Iranian president's office for women and family affairs recently called for
stricter implementation of the "Veil and Chastity" plan. The measure will first
target places where women most commonly assemble, such as schools and
The veil is the central focus of the government's tightened restrictions.
The authorities have recently claimed the West has promoted the wearing of the
"improper veil" in Iran.
Conservative parliament deputy Hamid Rasaee said that "based on confidential
Iranian intelligence documents, Western countries have plotted to encourage
'improper [wearing of the] veil' in Iran."
Parvin Ahmadinejad, the sister of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad and a Tehran city
councilwoman, agreed with Rasaee, saying that some groups of women are paid to
institutionalize the "improper veil" in Iran. She said such women "must be
Conservative officials in Iran have said a proper veil covers all of a woman's
hair. If any parts of the hair can be seen, then the veil is considered
Wearing a veil is not a matter of great controversy, even among younger, more
liberal Iranian women. The problem has been over how much hair should be covered
while wearing it.
Sociologist Azadeh Kyan told Radio Farda on May 17 that hard-line government
policies toward women have failed repeatedly over the last three decades. "The
majority of protesters in Iran today are those who were born after the 1979
Revolution," she said.
Copyright (c) 2010 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org
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