Sweden’s “feminist” government has defended its delegation wearing Islamic headscarves in Iran, after receiving widespread accusations of hypocrisy.
Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lövin recently attacked U.S. President Donald J. Trump for having men in his top team. However, when her colleagues visited Iran they refused to take a stand against legally enforced female subjugation.
There were 11 women on the trip led by Prime Minister Stefan Lofven this weekend, according to Expressen, and they were all photographed in headscarves “almost all of the time”, apart from at events in the Swedish Embassy.
It is illegal for women to go out in public without wearing headscarves in Iran, where thousands of undercover agents and “morality police” patrol the streets to check for violations. Women found to have their hair or bodies inadequately covered can be publicly admonished, fined, or even arrested.
“The veil is a symbol of the oppression of women in Iran, and it is not only customary, but legislated oppression of women,” Swedish Liberals Party leader Jan Björklund told Aftonbladet.
“It is very unfortunate that the Swedish ministers are appearing in pictures, now in circulation, with the veil on.”
However, Ann Linde, the Minister for European Union Affairs and Trade from the Social Democrat party, defended the move, arguing they could not violate Iranian law.
“It’s their law, unlike in Saudi Arabia where it is not required by law to wear a veil. I will go to Saudi Arabia next month and then I will of course not to wear the veil,” she said.
Masih Alinejad, an Iranian journalist and writer, attacked the Swedish government for double standards, posting the image of the female ministers mocking President Trump alongside the picture of them wearing veils in Iran on Facebook.
Women in the Swedish government “should have condemned an equally unfair situation in Iran,” she wrote.
By “not showing any opposition to the law of compulsory veiling when visiting Iran”, she added, the Swedish government “show[s] the Iranian leader… that men are more equal and more important!”
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has just met with Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khamenei. pic.twitter.com/SPqLPkppqN
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) February 11, 2017