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IRAN: Friday prayer preachers focus on improper women's dress, signalling potential crackdown

Tighten your hijab, ladies, and pull on your manteau. The months-long siesta for religious hard-liners in the Islamic Republic of Iran appears to have drawn to a close as two Friday prayer leaders called for a crackdown on the immodest dress of women, potentially laying the groundwork for more harassment of women in public.

The government coordinates on Tuesdays with religious leaders to determine the content of sermons for Friday prayers, ensuring that the same message is spread throughout the country. 


In Tehran, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati called for a crackdown on all Iranian woman, beginning with "government employees and students." 

Referring to female students, Jannati said that they may face disciplinary committees if they refuse to abide by the state's interpretation of a uniform Islamic dress code and that the success of their exams may be contingent on their conformity to the moral order.

Jannati said that hospitals and other public centers should also not avoid scrutiny. He praised the Supreme Council for Cultural Revolution, one of the institutions that drove the 1979 Islamic Revolution, for adopting a plan two years ago to enforce chastity and the wearing of the hijab, though it was blocked.

"Those who obstructed this law should be held accountable.... Why haven't you implemented this law yet?"

Jannati's sermon was broadcast on state radio.

Jannati is a force to be reckoned with in Iranian politics. He has been a member of the Guardian Council since 1980 and its chairman since 1988. He also holds seats in the Assembly of Experts and the Expediency Discernment Council, significant government organs.

On Jan. 29, he praised the regime for executing members of the peaceful protest movement that grew out of the contended presidential elections and urged more executions "to please god," as reported by Voice of America.

In Mashhad, the second largest city in Iran, similar cries could be heard by Ayatollah Ahmad Alam-al-Hoda. During his sermon, Alam-al-Hoda connected the issue of immodest dress to foreign influence.  "Badly veiled women and girls are like foot soldiers of the United States. Our enemies intend to pull the rug of religion from under the feet of our youth by spreading bad veil in the society," as reported by Fars News Agency.


Ultimately, Alam-al-Hoda said women's dress has an effect on men. "Anytime badly veiled women and girls sport strong makeup to deviate a young man from the right path, the enemy will be pleased with victory. These badly veiled women are knowingly or unknowingly fighting on the enemy's front."  

On Dec. 30, Alam-al-Hoda was the first to publicly proclaim at a pro-government rally in Tehran that opposition leaders should be tried as enemies of God, according to Agence  France -Presse.

With the potential for a fourth round of U.S.-led U.N. sanctions against Iran, today's Friday sermon centered on Iranian women's duty to carry the emblem of the Islamic Republic as it faces  what it perceives to be a siege from the West.

As the temperatures rise in Iran with summer's approach, so do Friday sermons.

Top photo: Two young Iranian women in Esfahan wearing the manteau. Credit:

Lower photo: Ayatollah Jannati delivering his Friday sermon in Tehran. Credit: Fars News Agency.

-- Becky Lee Katz in Beirut

Comments () | Archives (15)

Iran just was awarded a seat on the UN commission to oversee women's rights and has a say and vote about the future of ALL WOMEN IN THE WORLD. No one opposed it including the US Oh by the way, who among us knows that US WOMEN really have no rights at all. They are merely unspoken. We are not even on the EQUAL RIGHTS BILL. Women where not granted.... EVER>
This was again voted on this past year and again rejected by all.

What a bunch of idiots.
(No Joe, not sure where you got the idea, but I'm pretty sure "US libs" don't approve of this kind of thing!)

It is so evil! Blaming the women/girls on perverted sexual lust of men - is that what Islam and their God teach them?! When is NATO going to bring this vile fascist Iranian Muslim Mullahs regime's leaders to the International Criminal Court of Justice in the Hague? Having dialogue with this regime is of no use - I suspect they are intentionally haggling to buy time to go on building nuclear weapon, and planning future Genocide of Israel; whilst supporting global terrorism, in order to seal their power in the 21st. century, particularly in oil (seems to be the target!) rich Central and South-East Asia and Africa. But also strange, that Turkey who is claiming to be modern and democratic - is defending this vile Iranian regime so vehemently - is Turkey in some sort of alliance or is it the "Trojan Horse" in NATO and in the West - particularly if it gets EU membership?!

don't there nutjobs sound like our Christian Taliban aka Christian Republicans?

Shame they never experienced a Reformation in the middle east.

Joseph L Cooke: US Libs are on the side of the men there??? You are very confused. I'm a US lib and I am on the side of the people, against the treachery of British Petroleum and their brainwash revolution. The Khomeini of the revolutions carried a hatred of Iranians, and certainly got his BP revenge by plunging the country into darkness. The poor youth. You have a leader whose hardline antics have successfully implemented "preservation," but there is no country that does not want a nuclear bomb that is interested in power and protecting itself. In a country's geopolitical and scientific development, the nuclear bomb capability is a huge milestone, an "ace' card so to speak. The very reason that major war is prevented between European countries is the deterrent of nuclear weapons. Of course Iran wants nukes, just like France wants nukes, like Israel has nukes. This is not a reason to destroy millions of innocents lives. You can thank your conservative BP for this mess.

Sanctioned violence keeps women from ever raising their voices. It's too bad. Here is an interesting tidbit. Women had it better in Iraq before America rolled in and rescued them :) Makes you wonder what kind of 'freedom and democracy' we brought to the people of Iraq.

Maybe a public stoning will set them straight! **sarcasm**
Islamic dress code is complete bull-doo-doo!
Miss Marple: I agree. What a bitter, dark place to live.

mr cooke: you are so silly!!! yours is the dumbest comment I have seen all day.

"And, US libs are on the side of the men there. Go figure."

What planet do you live on?

The men are "deviated from the right path by improperly veiled women"? There's a simple solution: make all the men into eunochs-that will solve the "I am man and control you women" attitude of these men (especially those old religious fanatics who are so frightened they will lose their right to make the rules).

The U.N. should implement total sanctions against countries who treat women and also gays (Malawi springs to mind) as second class citizens. If a country were to do something comparable to their nation's Jewry there would of course be calls for complete blockades.

No flights on European, Asian, Russian or American scheduled carriers - including to the West's so-called allies guilty of these crimes against humanity. All other companies including tobacco firms, fast-foot chains, soft drinks manufacturers etc. should be forced to do likewise. I still don't understand how Coca-Cola (who have a factory in Mashad, Iran) and American tobacco companies can circumvent the U.S. sanctions on Iran and do business there.

I'm sure Ayatollah Jannati would harp on about how this means that external forces are putting pressure on the Islamic Republic's traditional values, and he'd be right. If the government of Islamic Republic of Iran (or any country's government for that matter, even their sworn enemy Israel) uses religious beliefs to oppress a group of people whether it be women, gays, Palestinians, Bah'ais, apostates etc. then they can do it alone without the assistance of the civilized world. We are rightfully aghast at the support offered to the North Koreans by the Chinese, but turn a blind eye to America and Britain's blind support of the horrid misogynistic Wahabi regime in Saudi Arabia (who treat their women even worse than the Iranian regime do).

And, US libs are on the side of the men there. Go figure.


Good, good, those naughty women should be whipped publicly, of course Muhammad gets to keep his favorite goat

This is a shame. Every time women make some headway, the government snatches it back from them. What a bitter, dark place to live.


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