Even as President Ebrahim Raisi has continued his official visit to Latin America, the spotlight has shifted to his wife, Jamileh Alamolhoda, who has stoked controversy with a recent interview on a Venezuelan television channel. Alamolhoda has provoked debate on several occasions in recent months because of her views on women’s rights and Iran’s nationwide protests.
During the interview, the daughter of Mashhad's hardline Friday prayer leader expressed her views on women's roles in society, condemning the idea of women studying, working, and living "like men,” calling it a form of violence against women.
"We believe women should embrace their femininity. Why should we strive to study, work, and live like men? This can be seen as a form of violence," she said on Wednesday.
Alamolhoda also attributed the events of the past nine months, referring to nationwide protests sparked by the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, to the media and the United States, echoing sentiments expressed by other Islamic Republic officials.
Since Amini's death in September 2022, there has been an increase in the number of women appearing in public without a hijab, sparking nationwide protests demanding greater freedoms and women's rights.
Amini had been arrested for improperly wearing her headscarf. A number of other women, defying the hijab laws, were subsequently arrested or summoned by the authorities and several businesses faced closure due to non-compliance with hijab rules by owners or managers.
Alamolhoda in the interview also indirectly addressed protesters who voiced criticism against Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Expressing her dismay, she questioned why protesters "disrespected our spiritual leader" and referred to him as a dictator in recent months.