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Iran bans film festival over poster featuring actress without hijab

Iranian authorities enforce ban citing violation of hijab law; cultural event halted amid ongoing dress code protests


Photo: Bloomberg

BS Web Team New Delhi

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Iranian authorities have imposed a ban on a film festival organised by the Iranian Short Film Association (ISFA) due to a publicity poster featuring actress Susan Taslimi without a hijab (headscarf). The ban was issued by the culture minister following the use of the actress's photo in the poster, which violates Iran's compulsory hijab law according to a report by Hindustan Times. The festival, scheduled for September, will not take place as planned.
Since 1983, wearing a hijab, which covers the head and neck, has been mandatory for women in Iran following the 1979 Islamic revolution. However, growing opposition to the strict dress code has been evident since last September's mass protests demanding an end to the compulsory hijab. The unrest was triggered by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, an Iranian Kurd who was arrested by morality police for allegedly breaching the hijab law.
In response to the increasing number of women defying the dress code, the police have resumed patrols to enforce the law. Legal actions are also being taken against Digikala, a major e-commerce company, for featuring images of female employees not wearing head coverings.
Recently, prominent actress Afsaneh Bayegan received a suspended two-year prison sentence for attending a public event without wearing a hijab. Additionally, she was ordered to undergo weekly visits to a psychological center and submit a health certificate as part of her treatment.
The ban on the film festival and the legal actions against individuals and companies highlight the ongoing tension surrounding the hijab law in Iran.

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First Published: Jul 25 2023 | 5:01 PM IST

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