February 02, 2018
Arrests fail to stop Iranian women from raising hijabs in protest
Police in Tehran have arrested 29 more women for protesting against a law that requires them to wear hijabs.
For weeks now, Iranian women have been engaging in small acts of defiance against the Islamic Republic's theocrats, removing their headscarves in the streets and hoisting them on sticks. Photos and videos of the brief demonstrations have been widely shared on social media and sites like MyStealthyFreedom. A number of women have been jailed.
Today, Tasnim, Iran's semi-official news agency, reported more than two dozen new arrests in the capital, where people were charged with "disturbing public security."
As per usual, Iranian authorities are blaming foreign elements for the demonstrations, saying illegal, U.S. and UK-based satellite channels have been "deceiving" women into participating.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani hit a similar theme yesterday in a speech in the southern city of Sirjan, accusing Donald Trump and other American leaders of offering "fake sympathy" and support to the people of Iran when they encourage civil disobedience.
Iranians are all too familiar with "U.S. crimes," said the president, harkening back some 40 years to the arms and money that were given to the late Shah and his secret police, as well as recent economic sanctions.
This is all because Washington "favours insecurity" in the Middle East, charged Rouhani.
Government efforts to stamp out the dissent seem to be having little effect, however. Reports indicate that the protests against headscarves — mandatory in public since the 1979 revolution — have spread to other cities like Shiraz, Esfahan and Rasht. Men are also joining in to show their support.
Earlier this week, a senior cleric even took the unusual step of openly criticizing the country's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, for his failure to deal with public anger over the failing economy and abuses of power by hardline conservatives.
Perhaps most troublingly for the authorities, it appears that a growing number of Iranian women are not afraid.

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