Iran’s prosecutor-general has officially called for those responsible for a ceremony celebrating Women’s Day in Iran to be prosecuted. Reportedly, the ceremony, during which a group of small girls jovially danced in front of a mixed-gender audience in Tehran, has deeply angered conservatives all over the country.
The lawsuit against Tehran’s municipality has been delivered to the capital’s prosecutor's office, according to state-run Mehr news agency.
Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, Prosecutor General, insisted that all those responsible for the ceremony on March 6 at Tehran’s Milad Tower should be charged and tried as soon as possible.
Mehr’s report described the ceremony as “in contradiction with public chastity and national standards.”
The conservatives took aim at part of ceremony wherein girls performed a choreographed dance accompanied by live music in front of an audience, including reformist Tehran Mayor Mohammad Ali Najafi.
Without referring to the age of the dancers, several conservative media outlets criticized Najafi for attending a ceremony where women danced in front of a mixed-gender audience.
“During the ceremony, a number of girls stepped onstage and started dancing in front of the mayor,” reported Tasnim, a news agency affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.
Government-run daily Iran, quoting a tweet from a “source close to Tehran City Hall,” responded, “These little girls performed in the municipality’s ceremony, but those who are worried [conservatives] claim women danced in front of men.”
For his part, Najafi also wrote on Twitter, “Islam is not a religion of mourning. Islam is a religion of mirth and liveliness. Nevertheless, the standards and frameworks should be respected in times of joy.”
Meanwhile, to disarm his critics, he noted, “Today, I issued a decree demanding that Islamic values and standards should be respected in ceremonies organized by the municipality.”
The mayor’s adviser responsible for organizing the controversial ceremony, Fatemeh Rakeii, also rushed to defend her boss, saying she did not understand critics of a show starring girls under the age of 9.
Iran does not officially celebrate International Women's Day, marked by the United Nations on March 8. It celebrates its own Women’s Day marking the (lunar) birthday of Fatemeh, the Prophet Mohammed's daughter and wife of Ali Bin Abi Talib, the first Shi’ite Imam, on March 9.