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As Women Arrested In Iran for not wearing the Veil, Foreign Office promoted ‘World Hijab Day’ .

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Iranian Students Protest Against “liberation, respect and security” enforced by Religious Police.

Foreign Office employees invited to wear headscarves to work to mark World Hijab day

In an internal memo, the Foreign Office said that the headscarf is worn by some women who see it as representing “liberation, respect and security”

According to reports, an email sent to staff said: “Would you like to try on a hijab or learn why Muslim women wear the headscarf? Come along to our walk-in event.

“Free scarves for all those that choose to wear it for the day or part of the day.

“Muslim women, along with followers of many other religions, choose to wear the hijab. Many find liberation, respect and security through wearing it. #StrongInHijab. Join us for #WorldHijabDay.”

Evening Standard.

How Iran uses a compulsory hijab law to control its citizens – and why they are protesting

In 1985, it became mandatory for women to wear the hijab with a law that forced all women in Iran, regardless of their religious beliefs, to dress in accordance with Islamic teachings. The hijab became a tool for implementing the government’s strict religious ideology.

A symbol of oppression

The new law marked an ideological way of governing that continues today. The compulsory hijab law has been used to exclude women from various areas of public life, either by explicitly banning women from certain public spaces such as some sports stadiums, or by adding restrictions on their education and workplace etiquette. More generally, it is also used to exclude anyone who disagrees with the ideology of the regime, who are branded as having “bad-hijab”. Not adhering to hijab continues to be seen as a hallmark of opposition to the government.

The law is also used to justify the regime’s increasing involvement in citizens’ private lives. From an early age, girls are forced to wear headscarves in school and public places. Teenagers and young people in Iran are routinely stopped by the “morality police” responsible primarily for policing people’s appearances and adherence to wearing the hijab.

For women it is the way they wear their headscarves and the length of their overcoats. Men are prohibited from wearing shorts, having certain haircuts that could be seen as Western, and wearing tops with “Western” patterns or writings. In recent years, it has become common practice for the police to raid private parties, arresting both girls and boys on the basis of not adhering to the hijab law. Punishments range from fines to two months in jail.

NSS criticises Foreign Office for “fetishising” the hijab

The National Secular Society has criticised the Foreign Office for “fetishising Islamic head coverings” after it encouraged staff to mark ‘world hijab day’.

The Foreign Office sent an internal memo offering employees the chance to wear free hijabs on 1 February. Since 2013 some have called this ‘world hijab day’. Others have responded, particularly on social media, by declaring ‘no hijab day’.

The memo claimed “many” women see the headscarf as representing “liberation, respect and security”.

“Would you like to try on a hijab or learn why Muslim women wear the headscarf? Come along to our walk-in event. Free scarves for all those that choose to wear it for the day or part of the day.

“Muslim women, along with followers of many other religions, choose to wear the hijab. Many find liberation, respect and security through wearing it. #StrongInHijab. Join us for #WorldHijabDay.”

A Foreign Office spokesman told the Evening Standard the event was for staff at its London office who wanted to learn about ‘other cultures’.

‘World hijab day’ was created by a woman in New York in 2013. Its organisers say they created it “in recognition of millions of Muslim women who choose to wear the hijab and live a life of modesty”. They also say it is designed to “fight discrimination against Muslim women through awareness and education”.

They claim the support of politicians including Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland.

Stephen Evans, NSS chief executive, said: “This appears to have been a well-intentioned event, but it is dubious whether civil service staff need their bosses to educate them on religious issues.

“If government departments wish to teach their staff about religion, they should do it warts and all. That means understanding that women are forced to wear the hijab across large parts of the world. And it means understanding the social pressure that encourages many others to wear it as a sign of ‘modesty’, submission to male-dominated religious authorities and a visible sign of commitment to one particular faith and community.

“Women who choose to wear the hijab should be able to do so in peace and without facing discrimination. But a critically-informed assessment of Islamic head coverings would not fetishise them. At a time when women in Iran are fighting for the right to remove their hijabs, the Foreign Office should be the first to realise this.”

More solidarity with the Iranian religious police:

On Feb. 1, Rabea Ali brought World Hijab Day to perhaps an unlikely place – Manhattan College, the Roman Catholic school she attends in the Bronx. Nazma Khan, who grew up in the borough, started the annual event in 2013 to promote religious tolerance and encourage non-Muslims and non-Hijabis to wear the hijab for a day.

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Written by Andrew Coates

February 11, 2018 at 12:40 pm

As Protests continue, half of Iranians say No to Compulsory Veils.

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The “Girls of Revolution Street”.

Iranian authorities have arrested 29 people as part of a crack down on protests against the compulsory hijab.

The movement, which has been named “the Girls of Revolution Street”, started after a woman took off her headscarf in central Tehran. (BBC).

Woman Arrested For Removing Hijab in Tehran Refuses to Repent Despite Facing 10 Years in Prison.

Centre for Human Rights in Iran. February the 6th.

Narges Hosseini, who was arrested for protesting against Iran’s compulsory hijab, refused to appear in court to face charges punishable by up to 10 years, including “encouraging immorality or prostitution.”

“Ms. Hosseini did not even appear in court to express remorse for her action. She said she objects to the forced hijab and considers it her legal right to express her protest,” Hosseini’s lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on February 5, 2018.

Hosseini, 32, has been in detention since January 29, 2018. She was unable to pay the $135,000 USD bail set by the judge presiding over her case.

She was arrested on January 29, 2018, for posting a photo on social media of herself standing on a bench holding her white headscarf like a flag on Tehran’s Revolution’s Street.

All women in Iran are required to cover their hair and bodies in public.

Vida Movahed was the first woman to be arrested after she did the same thing in late December 2017 in Tehran. The act of removing your headscarf in public and waving it like a flag has become a symbol for the “Girls of Revolution Streetmovement, which advocates choice over compulsion for women’s clothing.

“Ms. Hosseini is being held in difficult circumstances in Gharchak Prison [south of Tehran] but she is not prepared to say she is sorry,” Sotoudeh, a prominent human rights lawyer, told CHRI. “She believes she’s innocent.”

Hosseini is facing the charges of, “openly committing a harām [sinful] act” and “violating public prudency” under Article 638 and “encouraging immorality or prostitution” under Article 639.

Compulsory Veils? Half of Iranians Say ‘No’ to Pillar of Revolution.

New York Times.

The office of Iran’s president on Sunday charged into the middle of one of the most contentious debates over the character of the Islamic Republic, suddenly releasing a three-year-old report showing that nearly half of Iranians wanted an end to the requirement that women cover their heads in public.

The report’s release comes as dozens of women in recent weeks have protested in public against being forced to wear the veil, a symbol of Iran’s revolution as much as it is deemed a religious requirement.

The decision to release the report — which found that 49.8 percent of Iranians, both women and men, consider the Islamic veil a private matter and think the government should have no say in it — appears to pit President Hassan Rouhani directly against Iran’s hard-line judiciary, which on Friday said that 29 people had been detained in connection with the protests. They have called the demonstrations “childish,” insist that the large majority of Iranians support Islamic veiling and have called for harsher measures against those protesting the veil.

At least as striking as the report’s findings was the timing of its release. The study is from 2014, and publishing it now suggests that the president saw this as a moment to challenge the hard-liners, who hold ultimate power, about such a symbolically potent issue.

Observers said the release of the report, by one of Mr. Rouhani’s closest advisers, was probably a politically calculated decision by the president, an Islamic cleric, to bolster support for social reforms and to signal to the authorities to temper their response to the veil protests.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

February 7, 2018 at 1:22 pm

Labour NEC Winner Yasmine Dar And Pro-Iranian Rally.

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“It’s an absolute honour… honourable guests here today thank you so much for this opportunity… we’re here for a celebration, a happy time, 38 years of the Iranian Islamic revolution so I’m absolutely happy, it’s the third year that I’ve been coming… I keep it in my diary and make sure that I’m here… I feel I am absolutely proud when I hear the stories about Iran was based on diplomacy…”

From here.

The Weekly Worker states today,

Yasmine Dar is now primarily known for being one of the main speakers at an event in February 2017 in Manchester which “celebrated” the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, her hair modestly covered by a hijab.

This celebration of a far-right Islamist regime which is at present repressing protestors – our comrades –  in Iran is bad enough, but there is more.

Labour NEC vote winner condemns anti-Zionist comments by economist she shared a platform with

The Jewish Chronicle writes (17th of January 2018).

Momentum-backed Yasmine Dar condemns “reprehensible comments” made by Professor Rodney Shakespeare at pro-Iran rally.

The Labour activist elected onto the party’s governing body with the largest overall vote has condemned comments made by a notorious anti-Zionist academic who she appeared with at a rally to celebrate the 38th anniversary of the Iranian Islamic revolution.

Yasmine Dar, one of three Momentum-backed candidates to be elected on to Labour’s national executive committee, (NEC), told the JC:  “I strongly condemn the reprehensible comments made by Rodney Shakespeare, and antisemitism in all its forms.”

Ms Dar issued her response on Wednesday after the JC revealed how the Jewish Labour Movement had written to her last November asking her to explain her presence at the event in Manchester at which Professor Shakespeare, an economist spoke.

JLM claimed Prof Shakespeare had previously backed anti-Zionist conspiracy theories.

Ms Dar failed to respond to the JLM letter. But she now insists that she was unaware of Prof Shakespeare’s previous statements.

She told the JC: “I attended because I think it’s important to maintain strong links with all of our communities across Greater Manchester.

“I didn’t expect to speak, having been asked at the last minute to step in after I arrived at the event. I was entirely unaware of the identity of the other speakers.”

Ms Dar – who had stood for the Labour parliamentary nomination in the Manchester Gorton constituency last year – also emphasised her past record working with inter-faith community organisations.

She said: ”I have been long active in many interfaith and community cohesion organisations, including the Challenging Hate Forum based at Manchester Cathedral and the Nisa-Nisham Jewish-Muslim Women’s Network. I am myself a multi-faith prison chaplain. “

On Tuesday the JC revealed how the JLM letter asked Ms Dar to clarify her position on the hard-line Iranian regime, on antisemitism, and whether she regretted appearing at the same event as Prof Shakespeare.

In the past Prof Shakespeare has claimed 9/11 was a Zionist plot while discussing a United Nations report on climate change.

The Iranian regime Dar had the “honour” to celebrate.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 19, 2018 at 12:27 pm

Pressure Grows on Labour to Defend Human Rights in Iran.

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The Clarion publishes this:

The following motion was passed unanimously at a meeting of 60 Labour Party members at Stretford and Urmston CLP in Manchester on 5 January.This CLP supports the working class and popular protests in Iran that started in the city of Mashad on 28th December 2017 and which have since spread to over 40 cities in the country.

We note that the protests:

• Directly oppose poverty and the systematic corruption of the “Islamic Republic” regime.
• Include the wide participation of working class people – men and women – many of whom are young and unemployed.
• Demand an end to the “Islamic Republic”, the end to rule by “Supreme Leader” Khamanei and “President” Rouhani and the dissolution of the Revolutionary Guards Corps.
• Demand an end to military interventions in Syria and Lebanon.
• Call for freedom for political prisoners in Iran and an end to the dictatorship.

We therefore call on the National Executive Committee and Party leadership to:

• Support the protests and the calls for workers’ rights and an end to repression and dictatorship.
• Support campaigns in solidarity with political prisoners in Iran such as the Solidarity with Middle Eastern Prisoners campaign organised by The Alliane of Middle Eastern Socialists who are calling for the release of: Reza Shahabi from the Tehran Bus Workers’ Syndicate; Narges Mohamnadi from the Centre for Defence of Human Rights in Iran; and Zeynab Jalalian, a Kurdish women’s’ activist.
• Cease any co-operation between the Party or Labour MPs with “Press TV” – the English-language arm of the clerical-fascist regime in Iran.
• Urgently investigate how best to co-operate with and support worker and popular organisations in Iran who share Labour’s commitment to socialism and freedom and build support for their activities.

Let us know what you think? theclarionmag@gmail.com

This comes as appeals for solidarity multiply.

Hamid Taqvaee: To: Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party

Dear Mr Corbyn

In solidarity with the heroic struggle of the people of Iran against one of the most despotic, brutal, anti-working class and misogynistic regimes in the world, and on behalf of the largest working-class party of the left opposition in Iran, I am writing to ask you to distance yourself immediately from the disgraceful comments made yesterday by the Shadow Foreign Secretary, Emily Thornberry. I am asking you to break your silence and to come out unreservedly on the side of the people in Iran in their heroic struggle against their oppressors.

Siding with the oppressors of the people or even staying silent or prevaricating on the rightful protests by the workers, women and the youth in Iran against the corrupt and reactionary Islamic Republic, whose leaders have amassed billions, while subjecting workers to abject poverty, smashing workers’ organisations, throwing trade unionists to jail, committing state-sanctioned discrimination and violence against women and LGBT people and executing dissidents in their tens of thousands, would be a grave political folly for the Labour Party. Once this regime is overthrown by the ongoing heroic rising of the people, the people of Iran will not forget who was on their side and who sided with their oppressors.

Your declared aims of fighting for a better world, for economic equality and for social justice won you great following among millions of people in Britain and internationally, who enthusiastically supported you in your leadership campaigns and in the 2017 general election on a progressive platform to address the widening inequality and the growing injustice in the UK.

However, these are exactly the same issues – on a far harsher and more brutal scale – that have brought millions of people onto to the streets of Iran today. The workers, women and youth in Iran are protesting against grotesque levels of inequality, lack of basic political and social freedoms and a medieval religious dictatorship that is an affront to the collective conscience of humanity in the 21st Century. People in Iran do not want the accumulation of wealth in the hands of the 1% and the billionaire clergy while they try to survive on a minimum wage that is one-fourth of the official poverty line. They do not want the vile state discrimination against women, which officially defines them as minors and the property of their male guardians; they do not want compulsory veiling and gender apartheid. They do not want the imposition of a religious state and religious thought. In one word, the people of Iran do not want the Islamic Republic. They have risen up against the Islamic Republic because they want economic equality and political and social freedoms. They want a better world and a life worthy of human beings. They are right to demand this, and should have the people of the world’s unreserved support.

Siding with such an obnoxious regime and disgracefully declaring, as Emily Thornberry has, that it is not clear who is right or wrong in this struggle of the oppressed against their oppressors will forever stay in the memory of the people of Iran. It will seriously harm the credentials of a progressive and egalitarian party that you are trying to build. It will disillusion millions of your supporters who rushed to your support precisely because they believe in equality and social justice everywhere. It will alienate your grassroots from the leadership, and mark a shameful moment in the life of your new party. It will be an irredeemable political folly and a historic moral disgrace for the Labour Party.

I hope the utterances of Emily Thornberry were an isolated case, which she will come to regret and openly apologies for. In any case, I urge you, as the Leader of the Labour Party, to distance yourself in the clearest terms from those comments and to come out unreservedly and unambiguously on the side of the people of Iran in these momentous days.

Hamid Taqvaee,

Leader of the Worker-communist Party of Iran.

The Morning Star meanwhile publishes this article.

THE United States slapped sanctions on five subsidiaries of Iran’s Defence Ministry yesterday as the war of words between Washington and Tehran escalated.

The sanctions are related to allegations that the subsidiaries are involved in the production of ballistic missiles used by Houthi rebels in the Yemen war, and are unconnected to the wave of protests that has swept Iran over the past week.

The US says Iran is the main sponsor of the Houthi movement, whose takeover of Yemen in 2015 prompted a murderous Saudi assault on the country in which the US and Britain have supplied weaponry used in air raids on hospitals and schools.

The sanctions came after Iranian Prosecutor-General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri claimed the anti-government demonstrations were instigated by the CIA, with the aim of turning them into an armed insurrection against the Islamic Republic by mid-February.

At least 21 people have been killed in the protests, which broke out last Thursday over widespread poverty and unemployment, and included calls for an end to theocratic rule.

The communist Tudeh Party of Iran says some of the deaths were “false flag” killings by government agents to justify a heavier crackdown, and a source in the party told the Morning Star over 1,000 people have been arrested — around half in Tehran — for involvement in the protests.

At the same time, the government has organised major pro-regime demonstrations, “significantly slowed internet access generally” and cut access to some areas and networks completely in order to impede the spread of unrest via social media. On Thursday it announced that all unregistered mobile phones would be denied connection to the internet.

The Interior Ministry placed the total number of participants in anti-government protests at 42,000 and said the biggest single rally involved 1,500 people.

The size and duration of the protests, which it said were drawing to a close, were testimony to the “leniency, restraint and tolerance” with which the government had responded, according to Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli.

But more protests — including some involving tens of thousands of people — were breaking out on Thursday night, according to the Tudeh Party source, though they acknowledged that the “deployment of the most brutal militiamen and thugs” to the streets to crush the protests was beginning to stifle the upsurge.

To get a grasp of the forces opposing the growing consensus of support for the protests from the left,  the US ‘Conspi’ (conspiracy) ‘left’ site, Counterpunch publishes  this,

Thoughts About Iran on Twelfth Night

The US is ravenous to destroy Iran. It’s hard to know if the CIA instigated the recent demonstrations as Iran claims but it is our usual modus operandi. UN Ambassador Haley’s bloodthirsty cries (“The people of Iran are crying out for freedom! All freedom-loving people must stand with their cause!”) certainly match, in both intensity and ignorance, those of Secretary-of-State Clinton, before we destroyed Libya seven years ago.

Our role in Iran’s impoverishment however is undeniable. As the three Wise Men swung along on their camels, discoursing on Peace (for that is what they thought the Baby was to bring) could they possibly have conceived of such malignant phantoms, in their starlit visions,  as The Plan for the New American Century and its vicious nihilism, 2000 years into the future?

Written by Andrew Coates

January 8, 2018 at 3:13 pm

Emily Thornberry and Labour ‘Cautious Approach” to Defending Human Rights in Iran.

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Image result for emily thornberry Iran

Thornberry, Cautious Approach to defending Human Rights when it comes to Iran. 

The shadow foreign secretary said a ‘cautious approach’ to the protests was needed because it was difficult to determine the political forces behind them

Guardian.

Thornberry told the BBC’s Political Thinking podcast: “Our approach now is one of extreme caution when it comes to Iran and a recognition that the society in Iran is an immensely complex one, and seemingly contradictory.

“For example, with these current riots, sometimes they are calling to reinstate the monarchy, sometimes they’re calling out against the [Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei, sometimes they’re calling for Khamenei, sometimes they’re calling for the price of eggs.

“It’s very difficult, in those circumstances, to actually come to a conclusion as to what political forces are behind the current disputes on the streets of Iran. So we take a cautious approach to Iran and we don’t want to leap to judgment and say: ‘Well, we don’t like the regime in Iran, these people are against it, they must be the guys with white hats.’ Because it doesn’t work like that. We’ve seen that in Syria, we’ve seen it in Libya, we see it time and time again.”

Some have commented that Thornbury seems to think Iran should be like an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer with the goodies in the Scooby Gang fighting the First Evil before Labour will take a stand.

Meanwhile these have no hesitation in defending human rights.

Iranian human rights defenders: “We support the protests”

A group of Iranian human rights defenders have issued a statement in support of the popular protests launched in Iran and Rojhilat and demanded an immediate unconditional release of detained protesters.

Support for the popular protests launched by the peoples of Iran and Rojhilat (Eastern Kurdistan) against poverty and the oppressive policies of the regime continues to pour in. 6 human rights defenders who live outside the country issued a joint statement and announced that they stand by the demands of the people.

Most famous human rights defenders in Iran, Muhamed Ewliyayîferd, Mehmud Rehmanî Îsfahanî, political prisoners’ rights activist Nesrîn Studa, Muhamed Seyfzade, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Şirîn Ebadi and human rights defender Ebdulkerim Lahici issued a joint statement declaring that the right to protest is the most fundamental right.

Human rights defenders stated that they support the protests launched by the peoples of Iran and concluded their statement with the following: “Citizens on the streets are not pro-violence, but the regime forces do resort to violence. Many protesters have lost their lives to date. We offer our condolences to the families of the deceased and a swift recovery for the wounded. We demand an immediate unconditional release of the detained and arrested protesters.”

Written by Andrew Coates

January 6, 2018 at 4:55 pm

Solidarity with Iranian Protests. Nine dead in overnight clashes – state media

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Nine more people have been killed overnight as clashes between protesters and security forces continue in Iran for a sixth day, state media report.

The latest violence, in the central Isfahan region, brought the number of reported deaths to at least 22.

Six protesters died in what was described as an apparent attempt to seize guns from a police station.

Elsewhere, a boy aged 11 and a man were reported killed in clashes along with a member of the Revolutionary Guards.

The protests in cities across Iran are the largest since the disputed 2009 presidential election.

They began last Thursday in the city of Mashhad, initially against price rises and corruption, but have since spread amid wider anti-government sentiment.

Hundreds of people have been arrested.

President Hassan Rouhani said protests were an “opportunity, not a threat”, but vowed to crack down on “lawbreakers”.

The US has stepped up support for the protesters’ “bold resistance”.

BBC.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 2, 2018 at 11:07 am

Posted in Anti-Fascism, European Left, Human Rights, Iran

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Iran – Islamic Regime Detains 230 for “Mixed Gender Partying”.

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An Islamic Guidance patrol arresting young Iranians for "immoral behavior". File photo.

Iran: “Islamic Guidance” Patrol Arresting Young People for “immoral behaviour”. 

A few days ago Le Monde published a long inquiry into the fate of atheists in the Islamic world.

L’athéisme, ce tabou du monde musulman

Du Maghreb au Pakistan, en passant par l’Arabie saoudite, les athées sont de plus en plus nombreux. Enquête sur cet athéisme qui dérange et effraie le monde musulman.

From social ostracism by families in the West, to repression wherever Islamist ideas have a hold on power, to murder, atheists face perscuction.

It was heartening to see that the “Ex-Muslim” movement is campaigning back.

The French daily of record gave prominence to this event,  Largest gathering of ex-Muslims in history

The International Conference on Freedom of Conscience and Expression, the largest gathering of ex-Muslims in history, was held during 22-24 July 2017 in London.

Comrade Maryam Namazie’s sterling work was given a special mention.

Now we hear this, scenes from the life under Sharia law in Iran.

Islamic law does not just forbid and repress atheism but having fun and drinking in mixed company.

The BBC reports,

Iran’s moral police have arrested 230 people at two winter solstice celebration parties in Tehran.

The shortest day of the year is traditionally celebrated in Iran, where it is known as Yalda.

Col Zulfikar Barfar, head of Tehran’s moral-security force, said the partygoers had been drinking and dancing at the mixed parties.

Drinking alcohol can be punishable by 80 lashes, although in recent years perpetrators are often fined instead.

Morality police are known in Persian as Ershad, meaning guidance. They also ensure women adhere to Islamic dress code.

Police said 140 of the people were arrested in a garden in the Lavasan area, while the other 90 were attending a celebration in the northern district of Fermaniyeh,

Two singers who were performing at the events were among those detained, and some alcoholic drinks and drugs were confiscated.

Col Barfar said images from the parties had been shared on Instagram.

230 detained at 2 mixed-gender parties in Tehran

Iran Human Rights Monitor

The capital’s The Moral Security Police Chief announced the arrests of 230 young men and women on December 21, 2017 in two night parties, according to the state-run Tsensim News Agency.

The State Security Force raided what have been described as a mixed-gender party in Lavasan and Farmanieh in the northern part of the capital Tehran.

The young men and women were celebrating Yalda night, one of the most celebrated traditional events in Iran which marks the longest night of the year, that is, the renewal of the sun and the victory of light over darkness.

Iranian authorities have a history of clamping down on parties. With the SSF shutting down get-togethers and arresting those in attendance.

Such restrictions have become a regular feature of Iranian life since the 1979 Islamic revolution, as members of the morality police appear on the streets, or are deployed in vans at public places, to tackle women defying the compulsory hijab, men with non-approved hairstyles, or men and women partying together.

Written by Andrew Coates

December 23, 2017 at 1:27 pm

Posted in European Left, Iran, Islam, Islamism

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