Iran's International Fajr Film Festival was hosted in Tehran last week for the 26th time. But pictures from this year's edition of the popular festival offered an unusual view of the showbiz affair. The FARS news agency blurred out the faces of female guests, making them almost unrecognisable. Our Observer for Iran, feminist Farnaz Seifi, explains why.
UPDATE (17.30 15 Feb. 08): Thanks to comments on this post, we have found photos posted by the Fars agency where actresses' faces are not blurred. The photos are part of a different set found at a seperate link. This would suggest that the agency has no consistent policy on whether or not their photographers can show the faces of female actresses.
Photos from the FARS news agency posted on Arash Kamangir's blog.
Commentary from our Iranian Observer, feminist Farnaz Seifi, who recently left the country to move to Europe:
This policy comes at a time when women are facing punishment for not wearing a headscarf in the street [video: Fashion crackdown intensifies: arrests captured on film]. For first-time offenses they receive a letter, but after that it's a fiscal fine. The government is also using other strategies to minimise women. For example, they're trying to cut the current rate of 63% of women in universities to 50%. They say admissions must be limited. These changes...the current government is simply against women in every way. With the old president, Mohammad Khatami, we had some hope. But now, things are getting worse everyday for women in Iran."