Iran ‘s hardline Islamic leaders have banned women from appearing in adverts under the state’s strict chastity rules.
The announcement came shortly after a commercial featuring a woman in a loose-fitting hijab suggestively biting into a Magnum ice cream.
Iranian clerics were reportedly enraged by the advert and urged officials to sue local ice cream manufacturer Domino.
Officials ruled that the advert went “against public decency” and was an “insult” to “women’s values”.
Now Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance has reportedly said in a letter to the country’s art and cinema schools that, as per “hijab and chastity rules”, women are no longer allowed to feature in adverts.
The ban, says the letter, conforms to rulings issued by the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution.
It is also based on Iran’s rules and regulations concerning commercial adverts, which have long been in force, and prohibit “instrumental use” of not only women but also children and men.
However, how “instrumental use” is interpreted differs depending on how hardline the ruling administration is at a given time.
The ban comes amid a backdrop of Iranian women joining a social media campaign against the Islamic Republic’s hijab enforcement street patrols.
The hijab has been compulsory for women in Iran since the Islamic revolution of 1979, which brought in increasingly religiously conservative laws.
Women in the country have tried to protest the rules, but have faced severe punishment for their activism.
The compulsory headscarves rule is enforced by the morality police.
But in recent years, women have protested Iran’s strict rules by removing their head-scarves in public and on social media.
Women have also risked arrest and public backlash by walking in public without their hijabs, with many capturing footage of the street harassment they face from men in the country – which they share using the hashtag #MyCameraIsMyWeapon.
Previously, the semi-official Fars news agency quoted the head of the Tehran Revolutionary Court responding to the movement, saying women who film themselves or others removing their hijab could be sentenced to one to ten years behind bars.