Iran bans film festival after poster shows actress without hijab

By India Today World Desk: Iran has banned a film festival after a promotional poster featured an actress not wearing the hijab, a headcover that should be compulsorily worn by all Muslim women as per the country’s laws, state media reported.

The country’s ministry of culture and Islamic guidance banned the 13th edition of the Iranian Short Film Association (ISFA) festival after it termed the poster featuring actress Susan Taslimi in the 1982 film The Death of Yazdgerd “inappropriate”, CNN quoted state-run IRNA.

“The minister of culture and Islamic guidance has personally issued an order to ban the 13th edition of the ISFA Film Festival, after using a photo of a woman without a hijab on its poster in violation of the law,” ministry spokesperson Mohammad Mehdi Samoui said in a statement, according to IRNA.

The development came days after morality police were back on the streets of various cities, including the capital Tehran, across the country, to enforce the mandatory hijab rules.

This came months after a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, died in police custody for not wearing the hijab in accordance with the law, triggering nationwide protests and catching the world’s attention.

Her death, due to alleged police brutality, led to massive demonstrations with women not wearing their headscarves and cutting their hair in defiance of the Iranian regime. Subsequently, the morality police unit was abolished.

Despite the significant move, authorities severely cracked down on the protests with hundreds of protesters being detained. Around 500 demonstrators were killed during the protests.

Across the world, women celebrities showed their solidarity with their Iranian counterparts by cutting off their hair and recording the act on social media.

Since the 1979 revolution, Iran has strict laws in place that mandate women to wear the hijab that covers the head and neck, failing which they could face harsh punishments.

The morality police officers keep a strict check on women, and sometimes men, on how they are dressed. They could ask women to adjust their hijabs or demand a change in clothing which is more loose-fitting and considered appropriate.

If women are caught violating the mandatory dress code, they are sent to the so-called educational facilities run by the police.

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