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'Indecent Dressing' Debate Flares Again In Iran

'Indecent Dressing' Debate Flares Again In Iran

TEHRAN — "Indecent dressing," or "bad hijabi" in Persian, isn't worse than before in Iran, according to a deputy-governor of the Tehran province. Shahabeddin Chavoshi, who is responsible in the capital province for social and political affairs, chided critics who accuse the government of Iran's moderate President Hassan Rouhani of neglecting public morals.

"Studies show that the state of the hijab and modesty" isn't in a worse situation than it was eight years ago, when radical conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was president, said Chavoshi. Still, the Rouhani government was aware of the imperfect state of public modesty in the country, he told the reformist daily newspaper Shargh on Thursday.

"Unfortunately, some stores send people onto the streets as roaming models to promote fashion, which hardly befits the dignity of our society," Chavoshi said.

The deputy-governor said that Iranians needed to be educated, and respect a state of modesty that would follow "the law and the Supreme Leader's statements." Yet he didn't threaten to launch a clampdown in the Tehran province — a repression that often takes the form of periodic arrests of young people in the streets of Tehran.

"Inappropriate dressing doesn't mean bad intentions," Chavoshi added.

Also on Thursday, District Governor of Tehran, Isa Farhadi, complained that economic factors were forcing Iranian girls to dress improperly. "Shocking clothes are cheaper, which is why our girls and women buy them," the governor said. Tights, for instance, cost so much less than jeans in the country, he added.

Farhadi urged Iranian companies to produce affordable "Islamic clothes." This Youtube video probably features the type of clothing Iranian officials are currently fretting about.

"Indecent dressing" is one of the often-repeated charges conservative politicians level against reformist governments in post-revolutionary Iran. This isn't entirely insincere or politically motivated. The country has in principle strict clothing norms, particularly for women. Females in Iran are expected to wear headscarves and a body veil, or a overall, to cover their personal clothing and body shapes.

— Ahmad Shayegan

Photo: Amir Farshad Ebrahimi

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Migrant Lives

Latin America's Migrants Trying To Reach The U.S.: Risk It All, Fail, Repeat

Searching for a safe home, many Latin American migrants are forced to try, time after time, getting turned away, and then risk everything again.

Photograph of thousands of migrants marching  to the US-Mexican border under the rain.

06 June 2022, Mexico, Tapachula: Thousands of migrants set off north on foot under the rain.

Daniel Diaz/ZUMA
Alejandra Pataro

BUENOS AIRES — With gangsters breathing down his neck, Maynor sold all of his possessions in Honduras, took his wife and three kids aged 11, 8 and 5, and set out northwards. He was leaving home for good, for the third time.

"I had to leave my country several times," he said, "but was deported." He was now trying to enter the U.S. again, but the family had become stuck in Mexico: "Things are really, really bad for us right now."

Migration in Latin America is no longer a linear process, taking migrants from one place to another. It goes in several directions. Certain routes will take you to one country as a stopover to another, but really, it's more a lengthy ordeal than a layover, and the winners are those who can find that receptive, welcoming community offering work and a better life.

The aid agency Doctors Without Borders (MSF) calls this an international, multidirectional phenomenon that may include recurring trips to and from a home country.

Marisol Quiceno, MSF's Advocacy chief for Latin America, told Clarín that migrants "are constantly looking for opportunities and for food security, dignified work opportunities (and) healthcare access." These are the "minimum basics of survival," she said, adding that people will keep looking if they did not find them the first time around.

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