Women in Iran are required, by law to cover their hair with a veil and wear loose-fitting clothing. Many choose to wear a chador —“tent” in Farsi—a long black garment that covers the body from head to toe.
Azadeh Namdari, a popular television personality in the Islamic republic, has been a vocal advocate of women sticking to the dress code. She regularly posts photographs of herself, dressed in a full chador and hijab and has previously said that women who do not cover themselves are “exposed.”
But Namdari is now the target of accusations of hypocrisy after leaked images appeared online, showing her unveiled in public and drinking beer while on holiday in Switzerland. Alcohol is proscribed in Islam and alcoholic drinks are banned in Iran.
A video compiling the images has received almost 90,000 views since it was published on Monday.
People in Iran and elsewhere have called out Namdari’s “hypocrisy” on Twitter. In a Facebook post, a group called Iran Without Clerics said : “We do not have any problem with you wearing hijab or drinking beer. Our problem is that you…take the Iranian people for a fool!”
— Darya Safai (@SafaiDarya) 24 июля 2017 г.
Namdari responded to the leak in a two-minute video published online by the Young Journalists’ Club, a hardline news site in Iran. In the video, titled “Azadeh Namdari’s reaction to the publication of scandalous photos in cyberspace,” Namdari—who is wearing a chador and hijab in the film—said that she had been sitting with family members and close friends, with whom she did not feel obliged to wear a headscarf, when the photographs were taken.
Namdari also claimed that her headscarf fell suddenly just before the video was shot, the BBC reported. She offered no explanation for drinking beer.
The television presenter and actress has spoken out in favor of conservative dress codes for women on multiple occasions.In a 2014 interview with Iranian newspaper Vatan-e Emruz , Namdari said she was proud to be a chadori —a woman who wears the chador —and the article ran pictures of her in a full chador and hijab.
“You have to believe to be a chadori. [Otherwise] you’ll be exposed,” she said in the interview, according to Radio Free Europe. “Thank God that I went on air, I was a chadori. I felt safe and I felt respected. All of these are blessings that the chador has brought me.”
“I apologize for saying that, but I’m more beautiful with this chador ,” she said in the interview.
Last week she posted a picture of herself outside the United Nations building in Geneva, Switzerland, wearing the chador and hijab.
In Iran, women face severe restrictions on their activities and appearance, and some have pushed back. A pro-freedom of choice movement launched a campaign on social media earlier this year —known as White Wednesday or Wednesday without compulsion —as part of which Iranian women wore white veils, scarves or bracelets to peacefully protest against the compulsion to wear a hijab.
Last year, an Iranian mother and daughter filmed themselves cycling after Ayatollah Khamenei, the country’s supreme leader, issued a fatwa stating that riding a bike endangered women’s chastity and should be banned.