Iran headscarf protester sparks social media storm

Iranian students protest at the University of Tehran during a demonstration driven by anger over economic problems, in the capital Tehran, in this December 30, 2017 file photo. (AFP)
Updated 24 February 2018
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Iran headscarf protester sparks social media storm

TEHRAN: A video showing an Iranian policeman shoving a woman protesting against mandatory headscarves off her makeshift podium in a busy Tehran street sparked criticism on social media on Friday.
The video of the solitary female demonstrator was apparently shot on Enghelab (Revolution) Street, where a woman was first detained in December after standing with her head uncovered waving a scarf on a stick.
Since then several dozen Iranian women have published photos of themselves in the street or parks, their heads uncovered, waving their scarves in an act of defiance.
The woman in the video is seen standing on a street cabinet with her arms raised in the air, her long blond hair worn in a high pony tail.
Asked by two policeman to get down, she replies calmly: “Tell me what my offense is and I’ll get down.”
“Disturbing public order,” one of them says.
A crowd then forms and starts clapping.
In the second part of the video, apparently shot on a cellphone, one of the policemen steps up to the same height as the woman and shoves her off her podium, to the indignation of onlookers.
“Where are the human rights?” a male voice asks.
Lawyer and human rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh wrote on Facebook that the policeman broke the law because “no man has the right to treat a woman like this.”
Twitter users also reacted with dismay.
“Breaking the law while in law enforcement uniform is our problem in Iran,” one tweeted.
“The same police force that makes the girl fall over in Enghelab Street is the one responsible for ensuring the security and viability of the elections,” said another.
Since December around 30 women have been arrested in Tehran for defying a requirement under Iran’s Islamic legal code to wear a headscarf.


Turkey says it will not let the US hold it back in Syria

Updated 17 December 2018
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Turkey says it will not let the US hold it back in Syria

  • Turkey said it would launch a new operation within days against the US-backed Syrian Kurdish YPG militia
  • Relations between the two NATO allies have long been strained by Syria policy

ISTANBUL: Turkey pledged on Monday to press ahead with plans to target a Kurdish militia in northern Syria, brushing off what it said were American efforts to stymie Turkish military operations east of the Euphrates.
President Tayyip Erdogan said last week that Turkey would launch a new operation within days against the US-backed Syrian Kurdish YPG militia in northern Syria. The Pentagon expressed grave concern and said unilateral military action there by any party would be “unacceptable.”
Relations between the two NATO allies have long been strained by Syria policy. The United States has backed the YPG against Daesh fighters. Ankara, however, sees the YPG as terrorists tied to PKK militants who have fought an insurgency in southeast Turkey for 34 years.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said Washington had tried to hold Turkey back during two operations in Syria in the last two years against Daesh and the YPG, which controls swathes of Syria’s northern border region.
“The United States thought it could deter us with the men it has nurtured,” he said during a visit to Pakistan, state-owned news agency Anadolu reported. “Now, they will try to hold us back east of the Euphrates. Turkey did not, and will not, allow that.”
Turkey has not yet launched an operation east of the Euphrates but has kept up regular air strikes against Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants based in Iraq’s mountains.
Baghdad summoned Turkey’s ambassador to Iraq on Friday after Ankara said it killed eight PKK fighters. But Turkish warplanes have since carried out further strikes.
On Monday, Turkey’s defense ministry said air strikes on Sunday targeted northern Iraq’s Gara and Hakurk areas and “neutralized” seven militants preparing to attack Turkish bases.
Erdogan has said Turkish forces will enter the Syrian town of Manbij, west of the Euphrates, if the United States does not remove YPG fighters there and will also target the eastern side, where the YPG controls an area stretching more than 400 km (250 miles) along the border toward Iraq.
On Sunday he vowed again to maintain attacks on militants.
“We are always in the heads of the terrorists. We are burying them in the ditches they dig. We will continue to bury them,” he said in a rally in Istanbul.
“Terrorists will cease to be an affliction for my nation,” he said. “Together with God’s permission we are making those who attack our homeland and borders pay the price.”
The United States has set up observation posts on the Syrian border, saying they will deter security threats against Turkey coming from Syria. It has warned Turkey against a new incursion.