Controversy Engulfs Multiple Iran’s Female Lawmakers

By Fereshteh Sadeghi, for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.

It has only been three weeks since Iran held landmark parliamentary elections, yet several controversies have already arisen over remarks made by both an incoming female lawmaker and a veteran member of parliament. Meanwhile, the qualifications of two Reformist candidates, one of them a woman, have also been challenged.

The first controversy erupted when Parvaneh Salahshouri, a sociologist who successfully ran on the Reformist ticket in Tehran, denied remarks about the mandatory Islamic veil in Iran attributed to her by Viviana Mazza, a correspondent of the Italian daily newspaper Corriere della Sera.

In an interview with Mazza, Salahshouri had said, “It is our primary right to choose [whether to wear the Islamic veil] … the time will come [when women won’t have to wear it if they don’t want to]. … It is a hard process to have the right choice.” When asked whether it will one day be a choice for Iranian women to wear the Islamic veil, Salahshouri responded, “Of course, it is the process of development.”

Immediately coming under heavy fire, Salahshouri claimed that her remarks were taken out of context. Yet the video of the interview, which has been subtitled and widely distributed on social media in Iran — including on the popular messaging app Telegram — does show that Salahshouri indeed made the remarks attributed to her.

In the second incident, parliamentarian Nader Ghazipour from Urumia in West Azerbaijan province became the focus of controversy after being seen insulting female members of parliament and making dirty jokes in a video that has gone viral. In reaction, female lawmakers have filed a lawsuit against Ghazipour. While other lawmakers have tried to mediate between the two sides, the female members of parliament remain adamant about pursuing their lawsuit.

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