May 19, 2006

Dispute Over Report of Iran Requiring Clothing Badges

(Tehran) The Canadian paper National Post reported today that a new law has been passed by the Iranian parliament that would require the country's Jews, Christians, and other religious minorities to wear colored badges to identify them as non-Muslims.

The paper quoted Iranian expatriates living in Canada who said that that the Iranian parliament - the Islamic Majlis - passed a law this week that also set a dress code for all Iranians, requiring them to wear nearly identical "standard Islamic garments" instead of Western-style clothing.

According to the report, Iranian Jews would be required to sew a yellow strip of cloth on the front of their clothes, while Christians would wear red badges and Zoroastrians would be forced to wear blue cloth. The report also suggests that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad personally pushed to get the bill, which has been stalled for two years, passed by Parliament.

Independent reporter Meir Javdanfar, who was born and raised in Tehran, says the report is untrue.

"It's absolutely factually incorrect," he said. "Nowhere in the law is there any talk of Jews and Christians having to wear different colours. I've checked it with sources both inside Iran and outside."

Javdanfar said that the idea itself is absurd.

"The Iranian people would never stand for it," he said. "The Iranian government wouldn't be stupid enough to do it."

If this report is true, there seems to be a significant disconnect between Iran's theocratic rulers and world opinion. The idea that religious minorities would be singled out and stigmatized has obvious parallels to Nazi Germany.

However, if the report is not factual, this suggests the possibility of a concentrated disinformation campaign against the Republic of Iran.



Anonymous said...

How bizarre - who do you believe?

Anonymous said...

Hitler would have loved the Mullahs!

historymike said...

Anonymous #1:

Not sure. I am waiting to see if Ahmadinejad or a spokesperson confirms or denies this.

historymike said...

Anonymous #2:

The jury is still out on this one. Let's wait to get a more reliable source than Iranian expatriates living in Canada.

The blogs are at least 100:1 accepting this story at face value, with screamin headlines like "HITLER LIVES!" and "GERMANY 1938, IRAN 2006."

The only other quoted sources are a rabbi from the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles and the leader of the Canadian Jewish Congress (plus some clueless bureaucrat at the Iranian embassy in Ottawa).

Anonymous said...

Ahmadinejad = Hitler!

Lisa Renee said...


Sounds just a "tad" different than the National Paper version:

Tehran, May 15, IRNA-Majlis deputies on Sunday approved the outlines of a bill setting out a dress code suitable for Iranian culture and society and a national fashion trend.

When the bill is passed into law, a committee composed of representatives from the ministries of culture, commerce and industries as well as the Management and Plan Organization, Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) and Majlis Cultural Commission is to be created.

The culture ministry and IRIB will have the primary responsbility of promoting the required dress or clothing design as confirmed by the committee and prevent Western-style fashion that are against Islamic teachings.

After the law is passed, the culture ministry, with the help of the ministry of commerce, will hold national, regional and international festivals and exhibitions to promote cultural exchanges, including Islamic fashion, among Muslim nations.

Seasonal fairs will be held by the commerce ministry to introduce as well as promote sales of Islamic dresses and garments to the public.

The national dress plan was approved in Majlis by 137 votes in favor, 45 against, and 11 abstentions.

Chops said...

UPI gives the story enough credence to repeat it, and no other media source has quoted the Javedanfar story. The claim that the bill has been languishing for two years lends it credence, though I haven't found any corroborating stories that the bill was ever introduced. It kills to not have a free press!

Canadian Reader said...

The National Post is just one notch above your National Enquirer. I would wait to see legitimate papers report before piling on Ahmadinejad.

Lisa Renee said...

Link to the actual IRNA news release on the dress code.

Chops said...

Two Israeli papers and Israel's Simon Wiesenthal center accept the story:

the Jerusalem Post and Y-Net News. Also, Y-Net news reported on Monday that Iran had passed a "National Uniform Law" mandating strict Islamic dress for men and women.

historymike said...

Thanks for the link, Lisa. I saw a similar one linked by a blog.

historymike said...

Thanks for the second link, too, Lisa.

historymike said...


UPI can get away with running their piece - if it is false - by the old "we just reported what the other guys reported" defense.

Same with JP and the others.

historymike said...

Thanks for the insight, Canadian Reader. I have only skimmed National Post a few times.

Lisa Renee said...

Iran has had a dress code in the past, most of the muslim nations do. However I seriously doubt they are going to require "badges" for anyone who doesn't follow the dress code.

Seems like the intent of the Candanian paper is a bit suspect. At least they didn't write there was suspected enriched uranium on the clothing.


historymike said...

(laughing at Lisa's ironic comment)

Lisa Renee said...

I thought you'd like that Mike.


Seriously though, it's situations like this that made me wish I could learn to read arabic. Because I always wonder how the actual news sources report there versus what the Enlish versions state.

Chops said...

Now PM Stephen Harper is chiming in with concerns;

"Prime Minister Stephen Harper says news reports that Iran could require Jews and Christians to wear coloured labels in public might be true.

He says Iran's hardline Islamist government has proven itself capable of such extreme actions."

Chops said...

More complete story:

historymike said...

Also from the cnews piece:

He made the remarks during a news conference with Australian Prime Minister John Howard. Both leaders said they could not confirm the reports.

"I haven't previously heard of that," Howard said in response to a question about the report.

historymike said...

Me, too, Lisa. I have about 100 words worth of spoken Arabic, but I have never been able to read the script.

The language omits vowels for many words in written form, and it has a slew of diacritical marks that kick my arse.

Of course, I never approached it in a formal manner, just picking up a short book to try and teach myself.

dusty said...

This made the hair on my neck stand up when I saw it this morning. I hope its untrue, I pray its untrue.

I will not blog about it until there is confirmation by various sources(such as you dear man) on its authenticity.

M said...

Though they use Arabic script, Iranians speak Persian, not Arabic. I looked through the last two weeks of newspaper reports on Majlis but didn't find any mention of this story.

historymike said...

You are absolutely right, M. I should have made that clear. Farsi (also spelled Parsi, or called Persian) is the dominant Iranian language.

The script used for the Persian language is a modified form of the Arabic alphabet, with four extra letters, and some letters have different pronounciations in Persian than in Arabic.

Lisa and I were also recently engaged in a discussion about the Cole-Hitchens affair, in which we decried our inability to read Arabic/Persian script so that we might make our own interpretations instead of relying on a possibly-biased media.

M A F said...

When I read that the National Post was like the National Enquirer I thought about Rupert it turns out I wan't that far off the mark. Apparently the National Post was founded by Conrad Black.

From the beginning the Post has had a strongly conservative editorial stance, and has an editorial page featuring the writings of many prominent neo-conservatives and libertarians from the United States and Canada, including Diane Francis, Andrew Coyne, Mark Steyn and David Frum. This stance is typically mocked by those who refer to the paper as the "Fascist Post" or the "Zionist Post".

The more I read the more inclinded I was to believe that the article is false. Of course, if a member of the MSM, say like Fox News does cover it, does that make it more credible or less credible?

historymike said...

Thanks for the references, MAF.

The mainstream US media (with the exception of the UPI blurb) has not touched this, although Drudgereport has been blaring the headline "IRAN EYES BADGES FOR JEWS, CHRISTIANS" since about 11:00 am.

Dariush said...

Horseshit. Pure and simple. Anyone buying this has got to be an absolute rube or a willfully ignorant individual whose window to the world is Fox News or neocon "newspapers" like National Post (still owned and operated by the Asper family, if I'm not mistaken), the New York Post, the New York Sun, etc.

None of my relatives in Iran have heard, read or seen anything about this. The very idea struck them as ridiculous.

Iran has always been an oasis for religious minorities throughout the region... including survivors of the Armenian Holocaust in Turkey, during and after WWI.

If you buy this, then you would have absolutely salivated over the "news" stories that the Hearst media printed in WWI, about the "Huns" ripping the arms off of Belgian babies. And you probably bought, hook line and sinker, the stories about Iraqi forces ripping Kuwaiti babies out of incubators.

Or, more recently, right around the time of the "spy plane" incident with China in summer of 2001, stories (complete with "photographic evidence") emerged that aborted human fetuses were becoming a delicacy in China. Yes, the slanty-eyed devils were actually eating babies!!!

Those of you who buy this or either retarded or have an agenda you're interested in pushing... can't imagine what that might be.

As for "Iranian expatriates living in Canada", I don't doubt that they said such a thing.

There's a large number of Iranian expats all over the West (I call them the Cuban-American community -- if you get the reference, then you get the joke) who would like nothing better than for their homeland to be carpetbombed or invaded. They can be divided into 3 factions.

1. The MEK (Mujaheddian E-Khalq) -- The favored terrorist group of the "civilians" in the Pentagon and State Dept. These people want to seize the reins of power in Iran, and have latched on to the U.S. gov't (as they did with Saddam's gov't before) as the vehicle that is going to help them achieve this goal

2. The Monarchists -- Most of whom simply desire a return to the power, wealth and privilege which they feel was unjustly stripped from them. They are the ones who bray the loudest about "deh-moh-crah-see".

3. Kurdish revanchists. Emboldened by their success in Iraq, USrael's model minority in the Middle East is ready to take the fight to Syria, Turkey and Iran. And, in fact, as Seymour Hersh has already reported, their campaign in Iran is well under way.

P.S -- Israpundit has picked up on this story, with a hat tip to Mike.

P.P.S. - None of the Iranian media has reported on this story -- I've checked both English and Persian/Farsi sections of official gov't sites, as well as independent blogs, and found nothing.

Everybody who mentions this is linking to the National Post article and to lordly pronouncement of Canada's PM.

Dariush said...

P.S. - Amir Taheri is the Iranian equivalent of Ahmad Chalabi.

A favorite of the National Post, NY Post, etc.

historymike said...

Thanks for your insight, Dariush.

For those new to this blog, Dariush lived in Iran for many years and later came to the US. His observations on the Middle East - and Iran in particular - are cogent and cut through the ignorance and disinformation that often obscure our ability to read what is happening in Tehran.

M A F said...

If Israpundit was trying to debunk the story his comments section tells another story altogether Darius. By the way, I totally agree with your assessment of those the would believe the story is true.

Of course, those sycophants for Bush that still believe that WMD was found in Iraq will believe this story to be true.

Only yesterday Rumsfeld was heard blaming Iran for the "instability" in Iraq. Not to mention that Rumsfled has referred to Ahmadinejad as Hitler. I am wondering when the US government will realize that Ahmadinijad is only the Iran's Front Man and the Mullah (Supreme Council?) that is the real authority.

$ said...

so this Islamic Republic News agency article is wrong then?

It doesn't mention they passed laws about wearing stars, but a dress code has been passed.

Kate said...

I saw this headline on the Drudge Report. I felt like somebody electrocuted me. If this is a hoax it's a decidedly cruel one. (boot to the head)

If it's true we have a big problem

historymike said...

I emailed INRA, the official news agency.

I'll print any response.

I am currently on the telephone with the Iranian embassy ("The Interest Section of the Republic of Iran").

I finally got through after hours of busy signals.

M A F said...

Damn sycophants for Bush can't "reed to good no how." The following is taken from the article linked to IRNA.

"When the bill is passed into law" and After the law is passed, the culture ministry, with the help of the ministry of commerce, will hold national, regional and international festivals and exhibitions to promote cultural exchanges, including Islamic fashion, among Muslim nations.

So, "when" and "after" the Iranians are going to pass a dress code. Yep, sounds like Hitler's Germany.

historymike said...

The person who answered the phone after 25 non-free cellular minutes was very polite, but did not have an official response.

He did give me another email address to try.

Still waiting....

historymike said...

Link here to breaking information. An Iranian MP - who is Jewish - denied the legitimacy of this story, while DEBKAfile reports that the text of the legislation has no such provisions.

DEBKAfile did report that some MPs discussed this provision. Perhaps that is the equivalent of Tancredo spouting off in our government.

Dariush said...

Just so we're clear on this. The Islamic Republic has been enacting "dress codes" since its inception. How these "dress codes" have been enforced differs based on the attitude that each individual "police officer" has to his job and to the State.

Most Iranian pigs just want to be paid and go home and don't really want to be bothered about anything, much less how tight somebody's clothes are, or how much hair they're revealing.

Anybody who's been to Iran can tell you how little regard the people have for these dress codes, especially women.

The women whom you see in flowing black chadors are wearing that out of religious conviction, not because anyone's putting a gun to their head. Women who don't share those convictions (many, especially in big cities like Tehran and Esfahan) simply wear a headscarf -- which sometimes is barely a wisp of fabric covering, at best, a third of their hair.

But, at no time, has the regime ever even tried to implement a dress code based on one's religious background. The dress codes have applied to all, and have been mocked and (to varying degrees) ignored by all.

Goebbels would be proud at how quickly this story has taken wing in the blogosphere. The 101st Fighting Keyboarders put the Propagandaministerium to shame with their ruthless efficiency and single-minded zeal.

josh narins said...

National Post = Black
Jeruslam Post = Murdoch
UPI = Reverend Sun Myung Moon

It's the US right-wing machine encouraging the English speaking world to bomb Iran.

Thanks, History Mike.

Amir Taheri is not Ahmad Chalabi for Iran. Manucher Ghorbanifar is. Ledeen and Ghorby were part of Iran-Contra-Drugs.

However, Taheri is one of the more prominent neo-Conners, which one can easily see be checking the Official Roster of neo-Conners (Gaffney and Hamza have their own pages, but aren't being represented by Benador any longer) Official Roster. Look for names like Richard Perle, VD Hanson, Taheri, Gelertner, Krauthammer, Ledeen, Mylroie, Pipes, Prager, AM Rosenthal (deceased), and even Natan Sharansky. All represented by one booking agent.

Dariush said...


You're absolutely right. My analogy was off. I was trying to say that Taheri is the "good Iranian" in the eyes of the media, the resident "Iranian expert" whom they trot out.

Ghorbanifar has the "honour" of being the Iranian Ahmad Chalabi all by himself.

Perhaps a better analogy would be that Taheri is the Iranian Fouad Ajami.

Anonymous said...

especially women.

Gee why would that be the case dariush?

The women are more rebellious?


Dariush said...

The dress codes are geared more towards women than men. Because of that, men have less to gripe about than women. That's what I was implying.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mike Brooks,

You might also be interested to note that "Dariush" is a self-confessed "anti-Semite" and Nazi apologist.

He is an avowed fan of all things anti-Jewish, and a great supporter of Holocaust deniers such as Ernst Zundel, David Irving, and Germar Rudolph.

He use to spice his entries with terms such as "kike", "Yid", and "heeb", and professed a great love for psudeo-intellectual racists such as William Pierce, David Duke, and white nationalist fringe figures such as James Mason.

He has identified himself as a "third positionist", a term which I'm sure your familiar with, as it describes a political philosophy comprised of extreme left/ right mixtures of anti-Americanism, anti-Semitism, and totalitarianist ideation.

He also hates Christians quite alot.

But if you must have a "pet Nazi", I suppose you could do alot worse.

Dariush said...

Oh, give it a rest, EB.

You forge posts, you resort to death threats when anyone says anything that pisses you off, you think that waging war on the Middle East is about "defending Western science", you equate premillenial dispensationalist heresy with "Christianity," you get a hard-on over "blowing the shit out of" Iran, you fantasize about deporting or detaining "fifth columnists" and "traitors" (not to mention imprisoning anyone who offends your sensibilities), and you pal around with folks who equate Muslims with Nazis.

But I suppose if Nikki must have a "pet racist", she could do worse.

Dariush said...

P.S. -- I'm not interested in any more silly, time-consuming "flame wars."

But I saw Nikki's well-crafted, cogent post on the cheerful, everyday, everyman racism of O'Reilly, Gibson, Malkin and VDARE, and I couldn't resist a little dig at you and the obvious disconnect between that post and your politics.

In any case, take care.

historymike said...

I have never seen Dariush reference the aforementioned writers, anonymous.

My comments were in response to what I have seen here and a few other places. Dariush presents intelligent, well-reasoned posts, and offers intriguing links for further reading.

"Pet Nazi?" That's a bit rough. I have seen, at times, nationalist (small "n") and anarchist streaks in his writing, but I have never seen Dariush advocate hardcore Nazi beliefs.

And face it - it is possible to be anti-Zionist without being anti-Semitic.

As far as third positionism - many people are trying to find political ideologies that transcend the dominant faux democracy/multinational corporatist swill that is being force-fed to the world these days.

While the racial separatism that many third positionists espouse doesn't work for me, I understand why this ideology has such appeal.