Iranian state media outlets have attacked a visiting British diplomat after she appeared in official meetings without wearing a hijab.
Karen Pierce is a director of the UK Foreign Office. She accompanied Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson as part of a delegation to Iran to discuss the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe who is being held in prison there.
Video of the talks on Sunday reveals Miss Pierce arriving for a meeting with Iran Foreign Minister Javid Zarif with a scarf around her shoulders but her head left bare.
As Mr. Zarif greets the other members of the British delegation with an outstretched hand, he instead points to the ceiling with both hands as Ms. Pierce approaches, a gesture state news reported as the country’s top diplomat telling his guest to cover her hair with her scarf.
جواد ظریف در نقش گشت ارشاد مقابل سیاستمدار زن انگلیسی که بی حجاب است این سیستم سرکوبِ جمهوري اسلامي است که از دیپلمات ها و فوتبالیست ها و هنرپیشه ها را هم گشت ارشاد و بازوی حمایتی قوانین ضد زن مي سازد. جواد ظریف پیشتر به یکی از زنان سیاستمدار فرانسوی گفته بود شما به احترام فرهنگ ایران باید حجاب کنید. در حالی که هیچ دیپلماتی نباید اجبار و زور را به عنوان فرهنگ یک ملت معرفی کند. حجاب اجباری و زوری فرهنگ کشور ما نیست یک قانون تبعیض آمیز است و همه باید به آن اعتراض کنند. Javad Zarif The foreign mister of Iran acts like morality police to enforce compulsory hijab on British female diplomat. a while ago Zarif told French female politicians that hijab is part of our culture and you have to respect it. It is a big lie, Here we are talking about compulsion, compulsory hijab has never been part of Iranian culture. #SeeYouInIranWithou
Later during the visit Miss Pierce is again seen in a formal meeting with her head left uncovered.
According to the Independent, State-run Fars News and Tasnim News Agencies both labelled her appearance “inappropriate”, unleashing a storm of comments from Iranians on social media contesting her decision from all sides.
— خبرگزاری فارس (@FarsNews_Agency) December 9, 2017
Women have been required to cover their hair with a hijab since the 1979 revolution in Iran removed the late Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi from power and replaced him with the founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Under the Shah, women had the option to show their hair.
One anti-hijab activist claimed the response to Miss Pierce was a direct humiliation of the visiting UK diplomat.
“I was bombarded with comments from ordinary people who was shocked that how humiliating that a high representative of Iran [was] acting like the morality police,” Mahsi Alinejad, founder of anti-hijab movement My Stealthy Freedom, told the Independent.
“One of the women wrote to me that Zarif’s humiliating gesture is familiar to millions of Iranian women who are told every day to improve their [appearance], sometimes with fake smiles, sometimes using violence,” the exiled activist added.
As Breitbart Jerusalem has reported, the hijab (roo sari or chador, which means “head covering”) is a source of irritation for increasing numbers of women in Muslim-majority countries. In Iran, more women are fighting the requirement as part of the “bad hijab” campaign which sees them driving cars on pubic roads with their heads uncovered.
Follow Simon Kent on Twitter: Follow @SunSimonKent or e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org