A poster of a stiletto shoe with a red strike-through the middle was held high above the crowd at a rally in Tehran on Friday. Hundreds were present at the protest to call on the government to enforce the country’s strict Islamic dress code for women.
It appears to be a response to a Facebook page going by the name “My Stealthy Freedom”, where young Iranian women share photos of themselves in public without the hijab or veil. It has racked up more than 243 thousand likes.
Hardline Islamists see the actions as evidence of creeping Westernisation. “The youth should be vigilant and be aware that the same enemy that has blocked our access to nuclear science is trying to drive us towards abandoning the hijab and towards corruption,” said one young protester, adding, “It is the same enemy. I ask all my good friends to do a little bit more thinking first, and then do whatever they want.”
Holding posters appealing to the historic acts of soldiers killed who died in the eight-year war with Iraq in the 1980s, protesters appealed to emotions, with another placard stating “We will start another revolution if the Hijab situation doesn’t change.”
President Rohani has taken a less strict view of the dress code, allowing looser clothing to be worn in the hot summer months, saying the emphasis should be on virtue rather than fashion.