Iran warns star actresses to cover up when abroad
Iranian actresses who fail to follow strict Islamic dress codes when attending foreign award ceremonies could be banned from travelling abroad, the country’s attorney general has warned.
Although the comments were not aimed at specific actresses, it is thought that the official warning referred to rising stars such as Leila Hatami, who featured in the internationally acclaimed film “A Separation” which won multiple awards this year including an Oscar for best foreign film.
Gholam Hossein Mohseni-Ejei, a former intelligence minister, suggested that violating religious rules by leaving their heads uncovered or wearing inappropriate clothing could derail their movie careers.
According to reports, Mohseni-Ejej claimed that:
“Regarding this issue, a few people are banned from leaving the country. These people have been invited abroad to take part in a ceremony and under the pretext of receiving an award. Then they have been ensnared in certain people’s traps.
“Those people, after taking pictures of their baits, forced them to undertake activities and based on the photographs, they have blackmailed their victims and taken them to a place where they shouldn’t. Of course, some of these people, after returning to Iran, are banned from leaving the country.”
Just last month Hatami was criticised by Iran’s deputy police chief, Bahman Kargar, for her outfit and for shaking hands with men at the Cannes film festival. The actress was pictured wearing a headscarf and a long-skirt, yet she wore full make-up and her neck was obviously exposed.
“Where does this behaviour stand in the revolution we carried out?” asked Kargar, who compared her unfavourably to a Bosnian-Muslim actress at the ceremony.
Whilst it is not yet clear whether the authorities will impose a travel ban on Hatami, reports suggest that the actress will receive the same treatment as Golshifteh Farahani, who caused controversy when she acted partly unveiled in the Hollywood film “Body of Lies” with Leonardo Di Caprio in 2008.
Farahani also sparked criticism when she left Iran for Paris and subsequently posed naked in the magazine Le Figaro, as a protest against Islamic restrictions on women’s dress. The authorities later warned her she was no longer welcome in Iran (see WVoN story).
The Islamic hijab (dress code) is enforced by law in Iran, and requires women to cover their heads with a headscarf and wear loose clothing when out in public.