Iran Summons Western Envoys Over Comments On Woman's Death Over Hijab Rules, Alleges UK Media Fueling Protests

Iran summoned Norway's envoy to protest the comment by the President of Norway's Parliament on the custodial death of a woman in Iran over hijab rules. It also summoned UK envoy for hosting critical Farsi media.

A scene from widespread protests in Iran over the death of a woman over hijab rules

Iran has summoned envoys of Norway and the United Kingdom (UK) to register protests over comments critical of the government and UK-based Farsi media allegedly fuelling protests in Iran.

Iran has been rocked with nationwide protests through the week over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. She was detained by Iran's 'morality police' over the country's hijab rules. She was allegedly beaten in custody, following which she died in a hospital. 

Following Amini's death, thousands of Iranians have taken to streets in protests and state media says 41 people have so far been killed in clashes with security forces. Women have participated greatly in the ongoing protests and have publicly burnt their hijab —head coverings— and cut their hair in defiance of Iran's government. 

What did Iran tell UK, Norway envoys?

The state-run IRNA news agency reported the foreign ministry summoned Norway's ambassador to Iran and strongly protested recent remarks by the president of the Norwegian parliament, Masud Gharahkhani.

The Foreign Ministry's website said it summoned Simon Shercliff, the UK's ambassador to Iran, on Saturday and protested the hosting of critical Farsi-language media outlets. The ministry alleges the news outlets have provoked disturbances and the spread of riots in Iran at the top of their programmes. Iran said it considers the news agencies' reporting to be interference in Iran's internal affairs and acts against its sovereignty.

Mahsa Amini's daeth, Iran's hijab rules

Mahsa Amini, 22, was a native of Iran's Kurdistan. She was out with her brother when she was arrested for showing too much hair. 

Amini was allegedly beaten in the custody. She died later in a hospital.

Iran is an Islamic country and a strict interpretation of Islamic law Sharia governs people's lives. It dictates that women in public are required to wear hijabs —head coverings— and long loose-fitting clothes that are neither tight nor revealing of their skin. 

Such laws have been in place since the 1979 Islamic Revolution of Iran which overthrew the liberal monarchy in the country. Prior to the Islamic Revolution, women in Iran dressed liberally, and photographs from the period of women in skirts and swim suits are available on the internet.

The BBC reports, "Officers [of morality police] have the power to stop women and assess whether they are showing too much hair; their trousers and overcoats are too short or close-fitting; or they are wearing too much make-up. Punishments for violating the rules include a fine, prison or flogging."

Protests in Iran after Amini's death

Since Amini's death, Iran has seen some of the most violent protests in years. People have taken to streets defying the strictly controlled lifestyle imposed on them by the Iranian regime. 

Women have been on the forefront of the movement who have burnt hijabs, cut hair publicly, and are participating in protests with uncovered hair. This is rare defiance in a country known for imposing public restrictions on women and even men who from mingling with the opposite gender in public. 

The movement has also been described as a feminist uprising against religious patriarchy. However, men are also participating in large numbers in the ongoing protests. It is said that simmering anger over government corruption and living conditions in Iran has also come to the fore in protests against the suppression of women's civil liberties. 

(With AP inputs)