Iranian Official Accuses Female Russian Workers of Flouting 'Hijab Payment'

Illustration for article titled Iranian Official Accuses Female Russian Workers of Flouting 'Hijab Payment'

An Iranian Parliament member named Seyyed Mehdi Mousavi Nejad asserts that Russian women who work at the nation's only nuclear power plant are defying the laws of the country by eschewing the hijab laws. They apply to women in Iran regardless of region or nationality, and penalty for not wearing one of the traditional head-and-body coverings can result in arrest. Mousavi Nejad insists that the Russian workers were compensated for obliging with Iranian modesty laws: "Based on contracts signed with female Russian employees at the Bushehr (nuclear) power plant, they receive a hijab payment." He insists that they're not complying with the agreement or fulfilling their "commitments" to wear the hijab.

However, Mousavi Nejad only represents one specific constituency in southern Bushehr province, and Tehran's deputy foreign minister in charge of consular affairs denied today that Russian women—or anyone—would be paid extra to observe the hijab tradition: "Based on the reports we got from our local office and the governor's office in Bushehr, hijab payment for Russian women is absolutely not true... There is no mention of such issue in the contract between Russia and Iran's atomic energy organisation or any local contracts. There is no hijab payment to the Russian women nor to any foreigner working in Iran."

'Iran pays Russian women to cover up in nuclear plant' [AFP]
'Tehran Denies Russian Women Get 'Hijab Payment' [Radio Free Europe]

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I know I'm supposed to respect other cultures, and I would certainly cover my head if I were to go into a Mosque, but this gets me... that a non-Muslin, non-Iranian woman can be arrested in Iran for failing to cover her hair, well, it makes me feel not good things.