Iran’s media shy away from unveiled medalist

President Hassan Rowhani, meanwhile, exercised the freedom to post a picture of the maths award recipient without a veil

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Over the last week, Iran’s media - from reformist to hardline - have depicted maths medalist Maryam Mirzakhani as wearing a scarf, while President Rowhani’s Twitter account showed her unveiled.

On Tuesday, Rowhani posted on microblogging site Twitter a photo of Mirzakhani who was the first woman to win the Fields Medal, a top mathematics award, with the accompanying message: “Congrats to #MaryamMirzakhani on becoming the first ever woman to win the #FieldsMedal, making us Iranians very proud.”

While Rowhani has never officially stated that he has a Twitter account, Iranian journalists cite it as is his official account due to its exclusive photos of the president and his family.

Iranian newspapers, however, showed Mirzakhani as wearing a scarf, compulsory in the conservative Islamic Republic since the 1979 revolution.

Vatan Emrouz, a conservative daily, chose to run the story with a very small picture showing the maths medalist in a veil, while another, Kayhan, did not carry the story at all.

The reformist newspaper Shargh ran a picture showing her hair seamlessly blended into a blackboard behind her, while another chose to crop out her hair entirely.

State daily Iran chose the more radical approach of montaging two photos together to show her wearing a scarf, according to the website of broadcaster France24.

Iran makes it compulsory for women to wear headscarves, with religious police often deployed on the streets, cracking down on those who they deem to be wearing the hijab incorrectly or not wearing it at all.

During Iran’s short-lived World Cup trip this year, photos of Iranian women cheering for their team at the World Cup in Brazil went viral on social media, garnering a host of comments on social media about many of the women’s less-than-conservative ways of dressing.

Mirzakhani, who lives in the United States, is a maths professor at Stanford University in California, according to UK-based daily The Guardian.

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