Two prominent actresses arrested in Iran for not wearing hijabs as protests continue [Iranian government]
On the evening of February 21, a wave of protests began in Iran. People took to the streets to protest a controversial law passed by parliament last week regulating women’s dress. In response, the Iranian parliament passed a new law, making it harder for women to wear makeup or engage in other forms of “obstructing public morality.” The protests have spread to other cities and beyond. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani denounced the protests in a televised speech, suggesting that it was the work of “enemies of democracy.”
On February 23, the two most prominent Iranian actresses arrested on allegations of “obstructing public morality” were released after serving 30 days in prison. The head of the Iranian Parliament’s Legal Research Center, Mehdi Hosseini-Bakhtiar, also said that he had issued a formal warning to all members of the parliament to maintain calm.
A number of protests occurred February 21 and 22, but there were no reports of violence, casualties or arrests. However, a number of public figures have been arrested in recent weeks and are on trial. Recently released members of the Iranian Parliament have been accused of fraud, and charges against other prominent members continue. Additionally, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran, was recently charged in a death-penalty case after being implicated in a number of suspicious deaths. His whereabouts are currently unknown. In March, Ali Khamenei, leader of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, was placed under house arrest, after being alleged to have ordered the recent kidnapping and killing of an Iranian businessman in Dubai.
There are signs that the protests have sparked a number of anti-government demonstrations elsewhere in Iran, where a number of public figures have also been arrested and accused of crimes. Protests are also occurring in Canada this week, as the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is attempting to take measures to curb the demonstrations.
Dressed like a traditional Iranian woman, Iranian actress Narges Rahbar wore a hijab (headscarf) as part of a protest against the new dress code. The headscarf has traditionally been a symbol of women’s modesty in Iran, and is often worn by public figures to protest restrictive dress codes in the country. However, in recent weeks the authorities have begun to make it more difficult for demonstrators to wear the headscarf. On February 21,