03/09/2018, 11.51
IRAN
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Iranian woman who publically removed veil sentenced to two years in prison

She had taken part in the peaceful protest against the mandatory veil. Twenty-nine women were arrested in recent weeks. Those who who had gathered to demonstrate for the Women's Day dispersed. Khamenei: the hijab protects Iranian women from deviant lifestyles.

Teheran (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Two years in prison for taking off her veil on the streets of Tehran: this is the sentence handed down to an Iranian woman, whose picture as she took the obligatory head covering off and was later arrested by police went viral globally.

Some local media identify her as Nargess Husseini, 32, arrested during the wave of peaceful protests that led to the arrest of 29 women. According to the prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, the woman was trying to "encourage corruption through the removal of hijab [Islamic veil, ed] in public".

Normally, women arrested for not wearing "appropriate" clothes are released shortly afterwards with a fine of about 20 euros or are subjected to a short prison sentence. The police - who on December 27 announced an immediate halt to the arrests of women surprised without any headcovering - said that the demonstrators were "induced" to remove the veil from a campaign launched by Iranians living abroad.

Yesterday, the authorities blocked a demonstration for the Women's Day. Some women's rights activists announced a peaceful protest outside the Ministry of Labor, as they chanted "on this one day, out of an entire year, we as women of this country should be able to make these cities our own, stay in the streets, and return to our homes at days’ end, without having our bones crushed." According to social profiles, the men and women who tried to meet for the demonstration were dispersed by the security forces, and more than a dozen held.

Since the revolution, the Islamic Republic has imposed a harsh moral code, which includes the obligation for women to cover their bodies and their hair. Supreme leader Khameini spoke on the subject on twitter, defending the women's clothing promoted by Islam, which according to him prevents women from falling prey to "a deviant lifestyle": "Hijab is an instrument of immunity, not restriction ". The model of an Iranian woman "includes modesty, chastity, eminence, protecting herself from the abuses of men, refraining from humiliating herself, pleasing men", and distinguishes herself from the Western one, "a symbol of consumerism, cosmetics, showing off for men as instruments of male excitement ". Khamenei then gave "the flag of identity and cultural independence" to the Iranian women, who "export this to the world while maintaining their #hijab".

Many Iranian women disagree with the position of the supreme leader, and they challenge these rules even trying to break the taboo that prevents them from entering the stadiums. Since the demonstrations exploded between the end of 2017 and the beginning of the new year, the Iranian people seem less and less tolerant of the theocratic system: last month, intellectuals, activists, academics and civil society personalities signed a document asking for a referendum and denouncing the theocracy. President Hassan Rouhani opened the referendum question first after appealing to the authorities: we must listen to the voice of the people so as not to risk ending like the Shah.

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