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