An Iranian actress was banned from acting and forced into exile in Dubai after she committed what the government termed an “immoral” act – not wearing the traditional head scarf ‘hijab’ in images posted on her Facebook and Instagram accounts, agencies report.

Sadaf Taherian

In Iran, it has been compulsory to wear hijab in public since 1979.

Until last week, Sadaf Taherian’s Facebook posts showed her wearing the head scarf.

But her latest images this week without hijab infuriated the ministry of culture to such an extent that they denounced her ‘immoral’ act, banned her from acting and even photoshopped the traditional head scarf back into the shots.

Taherian does not feel sorry about what she did.

While some praised her for her bold act, most stood on the high moral ground and heaped insults on her. That pained her.

Masih Alinejad

Participating in a TV show Tablet on the Voice of America Persian channel, she talked to the presenter Masih Alinejad about the skin-deep morality of some of the directors she worked with.

They were, she said, willing to give her any number of roles so that they could be near her for long.

She said: “It bothered me when I was acting and the director was thinking about me in any way except acting. He was only waiting for the scene to finish so he could whisper in my ear again.

“They would put five or six contracts in front of me with only one condition: One month – to be with them.”

When asked why she did not refuse to wear hijab in some scenes, she said: “When I wore the hijab on camera, I did it for the love of my career and for the demand of the film.”

Taherian is hoping to rebuild her acting career in Dubai.

“No, I am not afraid,” she told Alinejad. “… I will try to work non-stop to get to the point where those who insult me will be the ones who encourage me,” she said.

Alinejad was lampooned by Iranian media for campaigning against forced hijab.

She ignores them. Her most recent campaign features women filming themselves walking through Tehran without wearing a hijab to highlight the positive reaction they receive.

The photo albums of many Iranian actresses are full of pictures without hijab, Alinejad said. They are full of stealthy freedoms.

But when they decide to be themselves, they are attacked from everywhere, she said.

Alinejad has not lost hope.

According to her, a day will come when women’s personal choices become a right and will not anger society.

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