May 19, 2006

Iranian MP Strongly Denies Reported Iran Badge Plan

Left: Iranian MP Maurice Motammed

(Tehran) A member of the Iranian Parliament, who happens to be Jewish, denied reports in a Canadian newspaper that Iran plans to force non-Muslims to wear colored badges in public so they can be identified.

"This report is a complete fabrication and is totally false," said Maurice Motammed in Tehran. "It is a lie, and the people who invented it wanted to make political gain" by doing so.

Motammed said he had been present in parliament when a bill to promote "an Iranian and Islamic style of dress for women" was debated.

"In the law, there is no mention of religious minorities," he added. "This is an insult to the Iranian people and to religious minorities in Iran."

The Canadian paper National Post reported this morning 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.

My calls seeking a statement from the Iranian embassy and state news agency IRNA have been forwarded, and responses to emails I sent have yet to be answered.


Addendum, 4:34 pm: This now posted on DEBKAfile:

The Iranian draft law which raised a world uproar was obtained Friday night, May 19, by DEBKAfile, and proved to contain no clause on a Yellow Star for Jews or special dress for non-Muslim minorities in its 13-clause text.

The outcry was sparked when Iranian exiles in Toronto reported to the Canadian National Post that Tehran had passed a law ordering Jews to wear the Yellow Star, Christians a red ribbon, and Zoroastrians a blue article of clothing.

Haroun Yeshaya, until recently head of Iran’s Jewish Committee, denied knowledge of such a clause.

However, the law has not been finally enacted, and speakers in the majlis debate proposed that non-Muslim minorities be made to wear distinctive clothes, yellow being the preferred color for Jews.

Other Jewish community leaders, lawmaker Moris Mo’tamed and the new community chairman, Rahmat Rafi, were unavailable for comment because of the Sabbath.

DEBKAfile’s Iranian expert says the report and the ensuing uproar against the clerical regime of Tehran may put the Iran’s 20,000 Jews at risk by giving President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad fresh ammunition against the Jews and the Jewish state.

The bill in question aims primarily at countering the revolt against black Muslim dress” as the hot summer approaches and Iranians – especially women - take to light clothing. At the end of the majlis debate, the final draft will be put to the vote; with or without the proposed discriminatory clauses remains to be seen.


Anonymous said...

Unbelievable - Drudge, you suck ass.

historymike said...

(laughs at anonymous)

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

sorry about all caps!

dusty said...

thanks for the update on this :)

historymike said...

I doubt it, anonymous #2. And don't worry about ALL CAPS.

historymike said...

You are welcome, Dusty. I get obsessed with a story several times a month, and have that itch for truth that keeps bugging me until it is satiated.

historymike said...

Drudgereport has now bumped the "story" down from top headline in place of a story that says Castro's doctor claims he will live to be 140.

Anonymous said...

this is translation of the "law". there is nothing about any minority religion"

1) patterns and styles in producing fabric and dress.
2) Respecting the traditional patterns and lively symbols of Iranian ethnic groups and paying attention to proper body coverage based on Islamic Sharia.
3) Taking advantage of research in obtaining original(to Iran) fabric patterns.
4) Encouraging the public in using the Iranian styles.
5) Supporting local producers of traditional clothes with loans and providing them exposure in clothes fairs and festivals.
6) Helping the public access to traditional clothes by establishing permanent dress fairs on local and regional bases.
7) Organizing regional (international) dress fair for exchanging experiences with other Muslim countries.
8) Inspecting and Controlling the imports of fabric and clothes to prevent the import of clothes incompatible with cultural, Islamic and national values.
9) This draft is written with coordination with the managing body in charge of clothing and dress.
10) Financial support for NGO, unions, and non-governmental institutions in providing national clothing.
11) Media, in special the national TV, must help in establishing the usage of national clothing and they have to avoid advertising styles inconsistent with our culture.

Anonymous said...

But how many people believed it when it ran? This is how we get into fucked-up wars like Iraq - by listening to lies.

Brian said...

I can't believe people bought into this. The Iranian government has been so tolerant and open since the fall of the Shah in 1979.

Iran is practically the garden spot of the eastern hemisphere with its open society, tolerance of differing views, views on women's rights and homosexuality, and tolerance of dissidents.

It's not nearly as bad as we have it here in the U.S. with the book burnings, the slaughter of minority religions, the beatings of women in ths streets who dare show their noses.

I'm with Dariush. Iran is by far the superior culture to the U.S.

historymike said...

Now the National Post, the source for the original rumor-mongering, is backing away from its earlier claims.

Their new headline is: "Experts say report of badges for Jews in Iran is untrue."

historymike said...

The wire service reports that just came out have the following statement about the early "badge" rumor:

In Tehran, legislator Emad Afroogh, who sponsored the bill and chairs the parliament‘s cultural committee, told The Associated Press on Friday there was no truth to the Canadian newspaper report.

Afroogh said the bill seeks only to make women dress more conservatively and avoid Western fashions.

historymike said...

The Drudgre Report has now yanked the story from its front page after blaring the headline all afternoon.

Dariush said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dariush said...

Brian: "book burnings, the slaughter of minority religions, the beatings of women in ths streets who dare show their noses."

Book burnings happened in 1979 immediately after the Islamic gov't was installed. There were also women beaten up by thugs armed with sticks -- mostly women who were protesting against the imposition of the hijab -- right around the same time. Shameful chapters in Iranian history, which the gov't will have to answer for one day.

"slaughter of minority religions", however is a fairy tale. Not sure about the source.

One thing I am sure of though is that Brian really, really, really cares about the plight of homosexuals in Iran.

"...views on women's rights..."

At the risk of being accused of [nasally whine]"mahral relahtahvism"[/nasally whine] I'll just point out that the majority of graduates from Iranian universities are women and more women serve in the Iranian Majlis (legislative body) than they do in the U.S. Congress.

Iranian society has some serious flaws, its kleptocratic government being among them, but it is not a "totalitarian" society, nor Nazi Germany, as the U.S. media, and dutiful servants of power like Brian, portray it to be.

Something which even pro-war pundit Christopher Hitchens had to admit, after visiting Iran last year:

"Iran today exists in a state of dual power and split personality. The huge billboards and murals proclaim it an Islamic republic, under the eternal guidance of the immortal memory of Ayatollah Khomeini. A large force of Revolutionary Guards and a pervasive religious police stand ready to make good on this grim pledge. But directly underneath these forbidding posters and right under the noses of the morals enforcers, Iranians are buying and selling videos, making and consuming alcohol, tuning in to satellite TV stations, producing subversive films and plays and books, and defying the dress code. All women are supposed to cover all their hair at all times, and to wear a long jacket, or manteau, that covers them from neck to knee. But it's amazing how enticing the compulsory scarf can be when worn practically on the back of the head and held in place only by hair spray. As for the obligatory manteau, any woman with any fashion sense can cut it to mold an enviable silhouette. I found a bootlegger on my arrival at Tehran's airport and was offered alcohol on principle in every home I entered — Khomeini's excepted — even by people who did not drink. Almost every Iranian has a relative overseas and is in regular touch with foreign news and trends. The country is an 'as if' society. People live as if they were free, as if they were in the West, as if they had the right to an opinion, or a private life. And they don't do too badly at it. I have now visited all three of the states that make up the so-called axis of evil. Rough as their regime can certainly be, the citizens of Iran live on a different planet from the wretched, frightened serfs of Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong Il.

"Tehran is in fact more or less uncontrollable by anybody."

Mike's America said...

Oh... so an Iranian denies the story... it must be FALSE!

I guess they're not making atomic bombs either... just putting together all those centrifuges for "peaceful" purposes!

Wake up before you folks get another 60 million people killed.

historymike said...

Ummm, the TEXT OF THE LAW is the foundation of the debunking of this story, Mike's America.

Show me where the text of the law says they will be making Jews and Christians wear colored badges, and I will join you in condemning Iran.

Brian said...


You arrogant prick! For all you know, I AM gay!

Just because one has conservative values doens't mean that he can not value the rights of ALL Americans.

The kind of black/white/round peg/round hole logic I'm sure applies to Irania society. It does not here.

If you don't know how to be an American, get the hell out!

Anonymous said...

ssThere's an obvious point that's worth stating explicitly: the US wouldn't have gone to war with Iran on the basis of the badges story alone _even_ if it were true; equally, there may end up being no alternative to going to war with Iran even though the badges story is false. It's not that I think we've necessarily reached that point yet. I honestly don't know. But there is reason enough--based on information that, unlike the Nat. Post article, is undisputed--to worry about the prospect of a nuclear Iran.

That's all a separate issue from Drudge's responsibility, and there I agree with you. But who's going to decide whether to support or oppose war on Iran based only on what they read on Drudge anyway? I mean: yes, you're right about the principle of the thing, historymike, but from some of the comments some others have made about this post and others about this story, I get the sense that some people think the story must have been a deliberate hoax perpetrated by people bent on war, when a) honest confusion could be the explanation--the Debka post you linked to said a proposal _has_ been made re. Jews wearing yellow..even if that hasn't been passed as a law, it's still significant and b) it might be necessary to go to war against Iran independently of this story's truth. In fairness to you I acknowledge that you haven't denied b) yourself. But I get a sense from some of the comments that the relief they feel about this story's being false is not (or not only) relief that Jews aren't about to face this particular discriminatory measure in Iran (though goodness knows that Jews and other religious minorities face all sorts of other discrimination there) but also groundless relief that we won't have to fight a war against Iran. I also hope we won't have to, but again: there might ultimately be no alternative.

Eddie said...

Anonymous, who posted the "translated text" of the law, posted it on my blog too!
There is more to this person and I'd like to find out why.

Does he have an agenda? Damage control? Is the text on any major news site? I think there are more questions than answers.