Iranian state television presenter Azadeh Namdari is known as an advocate of the strict Iranian dress codes for women that many women have bravely resisted in the authoritarian country. For that reason, a photo of Namdari sitting outside without a hijab and allegedly drinking a beer has caused a firestorm of criticism from both secularists and Islamists.
Alcoholic drinks are banned under Islam and prohibited in Iran. Namdari is shown above in an article espousing her support for the restrictions imposed on women in her country. The article was published in the conservative Iranian newspaper Vatan-e Emruz under the headline: “Thank God, I wear the veil”. While other women have gone to jail to oppose those restrictions, Namdari has supported the government in denying women such choices.
The picture however appears to show Namdari at a table enjoying a drink in Switzerland and basking in the sunlight. In a two-minute video of explaining the photo, she is wearing a veil and insists that she was in a “maharem” – or among close relatives at the time. A woman is allowed to take off her hijab around close relatives. She insists that her scarf fell suddenly . . . at the very moment the picture was taken. There is no explanation of what appears to be a beer in her hand.
I would be glad that Namdari is able to enjoy the freedom of women outside Iran except for her own efforts to support the denial of such freedom to her countrywomen.