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"Woman, Gaza, Freedom" on Iranian Daily’s Front Page Sparks Uproar

October 31, 2023
2 min read
"Woman, Gaza, Freedom" on Iranian Daily’s Front Page Sparks Uproar

A popular newspaper in Iran has sparked outrage among Iranian social media users after it published a picture of a woman with her face covered with a Palestinian scarf (keffiyeh), accompanied by the words "Woman, Gaza, Freedom."

The frontpage headline played with the "Woman, Life, Freedom" slogan from the anti-establishment protests that swept Iran last year.

Reza Saemi, a film critic, accused the newspaper of “stealing the slogan of a patriotic movement” and of "dismissing [Iranian] women's plea for freedom.”

“They designate women aligned with their views as sisters while branding protesting women as thorns," he wrote in an Instagram post, adding that “those who themselves contribute to the pain cannot be the authentic narrators of suffering."

A user of the social media platform X wrote: "Hamshahri newspaper, which is associated with [Tehran] Municipality, should capture the wearied expressions of [Iranian] female street vendors who grapple daily with the dangers of the subway in their quest for survival.” 

“These women have left their elderly loved ones behind to make a living in the city, enduring the challenge of cohabiting with 20 other people in a single room on the city's outskirts." 

Another X user suggested Hamshahri to “focus on urban issues [in Tehran] on its front page.”

Hamshahri’s controversial front page appeared in kiosks as Israeli ground forces pushed deeper into the Gaza Strip in their attempt to destroy Palestinian terrorist group Hamas.

The Israeli military has been bombing the territory since the October 7 Hamas attacks on Israel that killed 1,400 people and saw more than 230 people kidnapped as hostages. The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza says more than 8,500 people have been killed since Israel's retaliatory bombing started.

The monthslong, women-led demonstrations that erupted across Iran in September last year waned earlier this year following a deadly state crackdown in which more than 500 people were killed and thousands were unlawfully arrested.

However, many Iranian women and girls continue to refuse to wear a mandatory headscarf, in a direct challenge to the country’s clerical rulers.

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