Insider news & Analysis in Iran

By INU Staff

INU - Semi-official ISNA news agency reported that Iran's attorney general Mohammad Jafar Montazeri is seeking to prosecute organizers of a party arranged by Tehran City Hall that commemorated Iranian Women's Day.

In a video of Tuesday's event, young girls danced in front of a mixed audience in the Iranian capital. The video was broadcast on social media networks. It was also criticized by conservatives.

The girls were dressed in tight jeans and a tutu. They performed a choreographed dance accompanied by a traditional orchestra and a choir composed mostly of women. The event was largely attended by women wearing the black chador, however, Tehran's reformist mayor, Mohammad Ali Najafi was among the men who attended.

Montazeri said event included "acts against public morality" and Islamic tradition, according to ISNA. He ordered Tehran's prosecutor to "quickly examine the issue and launch legal proceedings against those responsible.”

Public dancing is forbidden by Islamic law in Iran. Women are not allowed to sing in front of men unless their voices are covered by male voices.

On Wedensday, Najafi attempted to disarm critics with a decree demanding that Islamic traditions be respected in ceremonies organized by the town hall, and that while
one might have "criticisms" for this part of the ceremony, it should not be questioned as a whole.

Fatemeh Rakeii, the mayor's adviser on women's affairs, who also organized the party, said she did not understand critics of a show that featured girls under the age of nine.

While March 8th is declared the annual International Women's Day by the United Nations, Iran is not officially celebrating. Instead, Iran celebrates its own women's day on March 9th, the birthday of Fatima, the Prophet Mohammed's daughter.

On Thursday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei lashed out at the West on Twitter for, in his view, leading its own women astray. He tweeted that in the West, “the most sought after characteristics of a woman involve her ability to attract men.” Another post said, “The western model for women is symbolic of consumerism, cosmetics, showing off for men as a tool of male sexual arousal.”

He praised Islam for keeping women “modest” and in their “defined roles” in a series of posts on Twitter.

However, in recent months, Iranian women have staged protests against the mandatory head covering — the hijab. Some have publicly removed their headscarves in defiance of the law. Many of those women have been arrested, and one was sentenced to two years in prison this week.

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