As the needle bends

A world view thru my hobbit hole door

Iran posts “non-denial” denial of dress code story

When I arose this morning, and began my quest for what happened around the world, while I was sleeping, I found several sources stating that the Iranian requirement for Jews to wear yellow armbands was not true. The first I found was this, at Al Bawaba:

Iran has strongly denied a report in a Canadian daily which claims Tehran may force non-Muslims to adopt a particular dress code in public. In a letter to the Canadian daily National Post, the press attache of the Iranian embassy in Ottawa, Hormoz Qahramani, dismissed the article.

This article went on to add the following:

Qahramani’s letter noted that such accusations against the Islamic Republic of Iran are part of a vast pre-planned move against Iran by certain states or individuals.

In related developments, the representative of the Jewish minority in the Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majlis), Maurice Motamed, also dismissed the article as a "complete fabrication." Interviewed by a western news agency, he stated the alleged dress requirement was a lie and people who concocted it intended to achieve certain political ends. The publication of such reports outside Iran is an insult to the religious minorities living in Iran, Motamed added.

At the Jerusalem Post, where I first ran into this story on Friday evening, I found this:

Iranian officials on Saturday denied a report published by the Canadian National Post on the previous day, claiming that a new dress-code law was passed in Iran this past week, which mandates the government to make sure that religious minorities – Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians – will have to adopt distinct color schemes to make them identifiable in public.

However, if you carefully read the story, all the way to the end, you will find a lot of ’non-denial denials,’ if you catch my drift…. Denial that this has been passed into law. Denial that the discussion has anything to do with minorities, but rather that it seeks to make women eschew Western dress:

Legislator Emad Afroogh, who sponsored the bill and chairs the parliament’s cultural committee, told The Associated Press on Friday there was no truth to the Canadian newspaper report. “It’s a sheer lie. The rumors about this are worthless,” he said, explaining that the bill seeks only to make women dress more conservatively and avoid Western fashions. “The bill is not related to minorities. It is only about clothing,” he said. “Please tell them (in the West) to check the details of the bill. There is no mention of religious minorities and their clothing in the bill,” he said.

So I checked, where the National Post was the original source for the story I found yesterday at the Jerusalem Post, and found this, by Chris Wattie:

Several experts are casting doubt on reports that Iran had passed a law requiring the country’s Jews and other religious minorities to wear coloured badges identifying them as non-Muslims.

There are some further quotes, with what appears to me as careful wording (you know the kind – like "it depends on what the meaning of is, is?") that give a basis for denial, without actually denying the existence of intent, plans for, discussion of, or desire for such identifying "badges." There was this:

Hormoz Ghahremani, a spokesman for the Iranian Embassy in Ottawa, said in an e-mail to the Post yesterday that, “We wish to categorically reject the news item."

And this:

Sam Kermanian, of the U.S.-based Iranian-American Jewish Federation, said in an interview from Los Angeles that he had contacted members of the Jewish community in Iran – including the lone Jewish member of the Iranian parliament – and they denied any such measure was in place.


Mr. Kermanian said the subject of “what to do with religious minorities” came up during debates leading up to the passing of the dress code law. “It is possible that some ideas might have been thrown around,” he said. “But to the best of my knowledge the final version of the law does not demand any identifying marks by the religious minority groups.” Ali Reza Nourizadeh, an Iranian commentator on political affairs in London, suggested that the requirements for badges or insignia for religious minorities was part of a “secondary motion” introduced in parliament, addressing the changes specific to the attire of people of various religious backgrounds. Mr. Nourizadeh said that motion was very minor and was far from being passed into law. That account could not be confirmed.

And this, from the same article:

Meir Javdanfar, an Israeli expert on Iran and the Middle East who was born and raised in Tehran, said yesterday that he was unable to find any evidence that such a law had been passed. “None of my sources in Iran have heard of this,” he said. “I don’t know where this comes from.” Mr. Javdanfar said that not all clauses of the law had been passed through the parliament and said the requirement that Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians wear special insignia might be part of an older version of the Islamic dress law, which was first written two years ago. “In any case, there is no way that they could have forced Iranian Jews to wear this,” he added. “The Iranian people would never stand for it.” However, Mr. Kermanian added that Jews in Iran still face widespread, systematic discrimination. “For example if they sell food they have to identify themselves and their shops as non-Muslim,” he said.

Is it all non-denial denials, or is the following reality?

Hormoz Ghahremani from the Iranian Embassy in Ottowa said, “These kinds of slanderous accusations are part of a smear campaign against Iran by vested interests, which needs to be denounced at every step."

I will admit I do not have the all (or perhaps any of) the answers, but the fact that the questions are being asked disturbs me greatly. If, as is usual, the truth lays somewhere in between…

As The Needle Bends

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May 20, 2006 - Posted by | Life and Ramblings

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