Iran MPs demand stronger veil enforcement

Updated 15 June 2014
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Iran MPs demand stronger veil enforcement

TEHRAN: Two thirds of Iran’s MPs have written to the president urging him to take measures to ensure women correctly observe Islamic dress, denouncing Western cultural influence against the veil.
The 195 members of the 290-strong parliament who signed the letter in part blamed satellite television for feeding the trend, ISNA news agency reported on Sunday.
A defining feature of Iran’s interpretation of Islamic law since the 1979 revolution, hijab obliges women to cover their hair and much of their body in loose clothing when outside, regardless of their religion.
A dedicated “morality police” has long handed out fines, verbal notices or even arrested women it considers are not properly observing the rules, but lawmakers have in recent months criticized lax enforcement.
In the letter, the MPs wrote: “One of the main areas of cultural invasion is in trying to change the way of life of Iranians regarding the veil. We ask that you give the necessary orders to enforce the law.”
Iran’s parliament is dominated by conservative males.
However, President Hassan Rouhani, a self-declared moderate who was surprisingly elected last June, has expressed a desire to expand social freedoms — to the disapproval of hard-liners.
In October, he asked police to be moderate when enforcing the hijab requirements and recently said, “We cannot take people to heaven by using whips,” a remark that was condemned by conservatives.
Rather than wearing a full length traditional “chador” that drapes the head and body, many women wear a thinner head scarf, leggings and shirt.
Police in Tehran earlier this month launched a new drive against non-compliance of the female dress code. Officers were deployed on the capital’s biggest roads, and women — drivers and passengers — checked.
The MPs letter and push for stronger enforcement coincides with an online campaign in which hundreds of Iranian women posted pictures of themselves flouting the dress code inside Iran.
The Facebook page “Stealthy Freedoms of Women in Iran,” was launched by a London-based Iranian woman who said she wanted a debate on having the right to choose to wear the hijab. The campaign did not generate a reaction from the government.
At least two protests to demand enforcement of hijab have taken place in Tehran in the past two months.


Rockets hit Libya airport as UN, French officials visit to talk peace

Updated 19 April 2018
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Rockets hit Libya airport as UN, French officials visit to talk peace

  • One rocket hit an Airbus 320 and others struck the arrivals hall at Tripoli’s Mitiga airport.
  • A security group that controls the airport alligned to Libya’s government said the rockets were fired by men loyal to a militia leader known as Bashir “the Cow.”

Tripoli: Rockets hit Libya’s main airport and damaged a plane as it was waiting to take off early on Thursday, a security force said, the same day as the United Nations envoy and France’s ambassador were visiting the capital to discuss a peace plan.
One rocket hit an Airbus 320 and others struck the arrivals hall at Tripoli’s Mitiga airport at around 2 a.m. (midnight GMT), but no one was injured, a spokesman for the Special Deterrence Force (Rada) said.
UN envoy Ghassan Salame and French ambassador Brigitte Curmi arrived at the same airport — the only one operating in the city. Their offices did not immediately release a statement on the attack or say when they landed.
Tripoli has been controlled by a patchwork of armed groups since a 2011 uprising that toppled long-time leader Muammar Qaddafi and splintered the country.
There have been rival governments in Tripoli and the east since 2014, when most diplomatic missions evacuated to neighboring Tunisia.
Armed groups fighting for territory and power have regularly attacked Tripoli’s transport hubs — undermining the government’s efforts to persuade diplomatic missions to return to the capital.
Airlines have also struggled to maintain services and keep the oil-producing country connected to the outside world as attacks damage their planes.
Rada, a security group that controls the airport alligned to Libya’s internationally recognized government, said the rockets were fired by men loyal to a militia leader known as Bashir “the Cow,” a group it has clashed with before.
France’s Curmi met representatives of that govenrment in Tripoli at around 9 a.m., and the UN’s Salame held his meeting in the early afternoon.
When asked whether elections would be held this year, Salame said after meeting Foreign Minister Mohamed Taher Siala: “Sure. We promised this the UN Security Council.” He did not elaborate.
The United Nations launched a new round of talks in September in Tunis between the rival factions to prepare for presidential and parliamentary elections in 2018 but divisions have prevented reaching an accord.
Mitiga is a military air base near the center of Tripoli that began hosting civilian flights after the international airport was put out of service in 2014.