Iranian hardliners continue their attack on women with the recent statements of Ahmad Khatami, expressing concern over the comportment of women at the country’s beaches and their cycling in public places.
The Leader of Tehran’s Friday Mass Prayers also protested the presence of women alongside men in orchestras playing at festivals and events.
Fars news agency published a number of photos of a musical orchestra at an Iranian state gathering abroad with men and women playing music side by side.
Ahmad Khatami maintained that his statements are not in opposition to the government’s recent stance but a reminder to the “religious public” that the government, like themselves, is concerned with the issue of “bad veiling.”
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recently spoke out against harsh confrontation of women for veiling issues and has recommended a more compromising approach to the issue.
Ahmad Khatami declared that “our movement before being Iranian is an Islamic one and many nationalists and their proponents have betrayed our country.”
Last week, Esfandiar Rahim Mashayi, head of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s office told a gathering of Iranians abroad: “There are various understandings of Islam, but our understanding of the truth of Iran and Islam is the Iranian school of thought and we must introduce this Iranian school of thought to the world.”
Ahmad Khatami condemned this line of reasoning saying: “Islam is everything to us and we defend an Islamic Iran.”
At the threshold of the anniversary of the Constitutional Revolution which gave Iran its first parliament, Ahmad Khatami warned that such separations of Iran and Islam could lead to the “Iranian Republic” slogan which some of the post-election protesters of the 2009 presidential elections would posit against the term “Islamic Republic” and the conservatives would interpret as an admission of the seditious objective of the protests.