Human Rights

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Iranian Actress Who Posted Photos with Head Uncovered Is Called Immoral, Flees to Dubai

An Iranian actress who posted pictures of herself with her hair uncovered on Facebook and Instagram has fled to Dubai after being declared “immoral” by authorities in Iran, Yahoo! News reported Friday.

Sadaf Taherian put the pictures of herself on her Facebook and Instagram pages in protest against strict laws in Iran that decree women cover their heads.

But the pictures soon drew the attention of the Iranian ministry of culture.

She’s since had to flee to nearby Dubai after facing public abuse over the pictures, with officials even reportedly doctoring them, Photoshopping her hijab back on.

Taherian spoke about her experience on Tablet, a program on Voice of America’s Persian language channel, The Telegraph reported. A video of the segment with English subtitles is embedded below.

“I was nervous and worried about how people would react to my photos,” she said in an interview with Voice of America’s Persian language channel.

“Remembering my past gave me the confidence to post these photos. I recall visiting many film companies to sign a contract, but I would hear many inappropriate comments about my physical appearance.”

“I did not expect this from the people of Iran, from my own culture – to hear so many insults,” she said.

During the interview, Taherian spoke about the harassment she faced as a woman in Iran’s film industry, saying that directors would be “thinking about me in any way except acting,” and would wait for scenes to end in order to “whisper in my ear again.” She also said that she could only get work contracts for one month at a time.

Taherian added, “I want to live in a place and live the way that makes me happy.”

Iran’s ministry of culture has “vowed” to revoke Taherian’s work license over the photographs of her uncovered hair. Since assuming power during the Islamic revolution of 1979, the Iranian regime has instituted laws forbidding women from appearing in public without a head covering.

Last week, it was reported that two Iranian poets were sentenced to 99 lashes apiece and jail time for shaking hands with members of the opposite sex. Last year, Iranian actress Leila Hatami was forced to apologize after being threatened with lashes for kissing the president of the Cannes film festival on the cheek.

On April of 2014, Iran was elected to a top spot on the United Nation’s Commission on the Status of Women, which is dedicated to encouraging gender equality and empowering women globally.

In response to the election, executive director of UN Watch, Hillel Neuer, said:

“By elevating Iran to a global leadership post on women’s equality, the UN is legitimizing a regime that systematically treats women as second-class citizens.”

“The UN’s election of Iran by an overwhelming two-thirds majority is a moral outrage that threatens to undermine the UN Secretary-General’s own report on Iran’s pervasive discrimination against women,” said Neuer. Iran won 36 out of a possible 54 votes from the UN Economic and Social Council.

“Iran is considered one of the worst countries in the world on women’s rights, ranking 137th out of 142 countries in the latest Global Gender Gap Index of the World Economic Forum.”

[Photo: Tablet Show / YouTube ]