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Two Iranian women arrested and subjected to yoghurt attack ‘for flouting dress code’

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 01/04/2023 Lydia Chantler-Hicks

A viral video has captured the moment a man threw yoghurt over the heads of two unveiled women in Iran.

The footage shows a man confronting a mother and her daughter in a shop in a town near the northeastern holy Shi’ite Muslim city of Mashhad, before taking a tub of yoghurt from a shelf and emptying its content on their heads.

Judicial authorities in the town issued an arrest warrant for the man, while the women are also the subject of arrest warrants for flouting Iran‘s strict female dress rules, according to reports by state media.

According to the BBC, the man and both the women have now been arrested by police.

Under Iran’s Islamic sharia law, imposed after the 1979 revolution, women are obliged to cover their hair and wear long, loose-fitting clothes to disguise their figures.

Growing numbers of women have defied authorities by discarding their veils after nationwide protests that followed the death in September of 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in the custody of the morality police for allegedly violating hijab rules.

Risking arrest for defying the obligatory dress code, women are still widely seen unveiled in malls, restaurants, shops and streets around the country.

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi said on Saturday, following the circulation of the viral video, that the hijab was the law in Iran.

In live remarks on state television, he said: “If some people say they don’t believe (in the hijab)’s good to use persuasion...But the important point is that there is a legal requirement...and the hijab is today a legal matter.”

Authorities said the owner of the dairy shop, who confronted the attacker, had been warned. Reports on social media showed his shop had been shut, although he was quoted by a local news agency as saying he had been allowed to reopen and was due to “give explanations” to a court.

Judiciary chief Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei earlier threatened to prosecute “without mercy” women who appear in public unveiled, Iranian media reported.

“Unveiling is tantamount to enmity of (our) values,” Mr Ejei was quoted as saying by several news sites.

Women violating Iran’s strict dress codes have faced public rebuke, fines or arrest.

Describing the veil as “one of the civilizational foundations of the Iranian nation” and ”one of the practical principles of the Islamic Republic,” an Interior Ministry statement on Thursday said there would be no “retreat or tolerance” on the issue.

It urged citizens to confront unveiled women. Such directives have in past decades emboldened hardliners to attack women without impunity.

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