The editor-in-chief of a hardliner daily under the Islamic Republic Supreme Leader's supervision has called for action against two outspoken members of parliament (Majles) who criticized Iran’s judiciary in the death of a female football fan.
Sahar Khodayari, 29, dubbed as the "Blue Girl" on social media, was told by judicial officials she would go to jail for having tried in March to attend a men's football (soccer) match in Tehran. Based on an unwritten law, women are not allowed in Iran to watch men's sports competitions in arenas.
In distress, Khodyari poured gasoline over herself and set it on fire. A few days later she died in hospital.
She has been dubbed "The Blue Girl" after the colors of her favorite club in the capital, Esteghlal FC.
The Blue Girl's tragic death triggered anger and sympathy in Iran, leading to criticism of the country's clerically dominated conservative judiciary and the unwritten law banning women from entering the sports arena to watch men’s sports.
The reactions have enraged daily Kayhan's managing-editor, Hassan Shariatmadari, to the extent that he has openly urged the judiciary to punish two outspoken legislators who have blasted the country's judicial system.
Shariatmadari who has run the conservative daily Kayan since 1992, said in his latest editorial, “…the indecent and vulgar remarks made by the individuals, rightly or wrongly called the representatives of the people in parliament are not justifiable."
The two lawmakers had simply expressed sympathy for the victim and called upon the judiciary not to overreact to minor infringements of the law.
Kayhan's anger directed at the two lawmakers clearly shows that hardliners, supported by Khamenei are determined not to retreat on restrictive Islamic practices, which constitute the ideological foundation for the political restrictions they enforce in the country.
Insisting that the judiciary is duty-bound to look into the comments recently made by Tehran's MPs, Ms. Parvaneh Salahshouri and Ali Motahari, the confidant of Ayatollah Khamenei has also stressed that parliament is not beyond the reach of the judiciary and "Majles is not an entity that the Islamic Republic is obliged to tolerate and ignore it's wrong-doing."
Meanwhile, in another column, Kayhan has maintained that the Blue Girl's self-immolation could be a plot devised by the internal, “anti-Islamic” and anti-regime groups.
Furthermore, the monopolized state-run national Radio and Television networks have also aired a series of programs attacking Salahshouri, and Motahari, as well as sports superstars and movie celebrities, who have protested the procedure that led to the Blue Girl's self-immolation and tragic death.