Iran arrests four for sharing footage of altercation between a woman and a cleric

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Iran has arrested four people on suspicion of giving a foreign-based broadcaster video of an argument between a Shia cleric and a woman not wearing the mandatory headscarf, Iranian media reported Tuesday.

Closed-circuit television footage of the row in Iran’s Shia clerical center of Qom has gone viral on social media and has also been aired by the London-based news channel Iran International, regarded as an “enemy media” outlet by the Tehran authorities.

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In the video, the woman confronts the cleric for allegedly taking photographs of her waiting with her child in a Qom clinic without the headscarf that has been obligatory for women in public since the years after the 1979 revolution.

The deputy prosecutor of Qom, Ruhollah Moslemhkani, said four of the “main publishers and senders” of the video to the “enemy (Iran) International network” had been arrested, the Fars news agency reported.

“What is clear to us, and we are sure of, is a design and planning had been made to create division and sedition in the society,” he added.

There has been renewed controversy over the mandatory dress code since the death in custody of Mahsa Amini in September 2022 after she was arrested for an alleged breach.

Her death sparked nationwide protests that the authorities blamed on incitement by Western governments and foreign-based Farsi-language media.

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