Tehran Police Chief Cracks down on Women with Sun Tans

The Telegraph reports that the police chief of the Iranian capital, Tehran, Brig Hossein Sajediniya, has called for a crackdown on fashionable women as part of his campaign against the reformists of the Green Movement. He is quoted as saying,

“The public expects us to act firmly and swiftly if we see any social misbehaviour by women, and men, who defy our Islamic values. In some areas of north Tehran we can see many suntanned women and young girls who look like walking mannequins.”

This sort of talk is not at all new. After a period of liberalization in personal freedoms under President Mohammad Khatami 1997-2005, the new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, began to institute a crackdown on women in 2007.

At that time, retailers reported that they received strict instructions to make their store mannequins less alluring by using hand saws to reduce the size of their breasts. The puritans in Iran seem to have an unhealthy obsession with store mannequins– Sajediniya also referred to them.

This time, the imposition of puritan mores has a political edge. The hard liners see the Green Movement around Mir Hosain Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi as a vehicle for the assertion of foreign, loose morals by the wealthy in North Tehran. Attacking fashionable women is, in Sajediniya’s mind, equivalent to shutting down political reform. It is not true, of course, but then the atmosphere among Iran’s high officials is frankly paranoid.

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7 Responses

  1. “It is not true, of course, but then the atmosphere among Iran’s high officials is frankly paranoid.”

    There is little doubt about that, but in a country where you are threatened with serious destruction by the governments of both the United States and Israel, they could, at least, be understood as being a bit phobic. Picking on women is not a good way to deal with this, but living under constant threat from countries that have destroyed others in the past, and usurped their legally-elected government in the past, I can understand having distorted response.

  2. When I was in Iran in 2009, I saw a level of ‘fed-up-ness’ in Iranian women I had not sensed before -and men also were aware of and talking about the silliness of the hejab rules. I saw a professional woman refuse a headscarf proffered by a well-meaning elderly woman in the semi-public space of a restaurant being used for a private party. She said,’no, I have one in my purse. thank you,’ and continued her conversation with her coifed but uncovered head. This was not in N Tehran but the holy city of Mashhad, where chadors are very common. I wonder how Tehrani women like her will respond to the police chief’s ideas. In another incident, a taxicab driver, noticing how badly I kept my hejab in place, started in on the silliness of it all, apologized for it, adding that he thought it had only made Iranian women fatter because they could hide behind big coats. Such is the taxi cab driver’s worldview. Fear, instilled through brutal enforcement, and a general sense that something good for society might come of it, put the veil on Iranian women. Once the fear is gone and the inanity of it is apparent, it will take a lot of brutality, and a general tolerance of it, to keep the veil on.

  3. The Telegraph article is by a journalist who is known to use a Tehran byline for his negative stories about Iran while safely ensconced in Ireland. The Telegraph has a sordid history of neocon disinformation. One example is the ‘expose’ of George Galloway using forged documents ‘accidentally’ found by a Telegraph reporter while rummaging around one of Saddam’s palaces.

    Is there a credible Iranian source to corroborate this story?

  4. Ahmadinejad’s pyramid scheme. as long as there is oil he can do that but this plan is not sustainable indefinitely when the oil runs out. This scheme only masks the IRI incompetent management of economy.

    Why Iran’s Ahmadinejad is pushing to cut popular government subsidies

    link to csmonitor.com

  5. Clampdown on Teachers and Labor Activists
    International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran
    30-Apr-2010
    link to iranhumanrights.org

    link to iranlaborreport.com

    10 Independent Workers Organizations in Iran have issued a joint statement on the occasion of the international workers day. The text of the statement translated by Iran Labor Report is as follows:
    May 1st is the international day of working-class solidarity and the day of global protest against poverty, destitution, and injustice. On this day, millions […]

    Continue Reading…

    Labor day for Mansour Osanloo:
    link to youtube.com

  6. Tehran Bus Company drivers on strike on Labor Day – Iran 1 May 2010
    don’t know whether these workers are striking for higher pay or as a political protest against the regime. But even a strike for higher wages might have political dimensions that could relate to a form of resistance to the regime.

    I’ve been told that Sepah, the Revolutionary Guards, have placed people sympathetic to them in control of most industries and businesses in Iran. Sepah seem to be increasingly interested in business and making money–and a labor strike could logically result in a reduction in profits for people at the top of a business. With so many businesses in Iran being controlled by Sepah, it would not be surprising if they also controlled the Tehran Bus Company.

    link to iranlaborreport.com

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