U.S. criticises Iran against apprehension of compulsory hijab protesters

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An Iranian activist based in the US, Ms Masih Alinejad, who has a show on Voice of America's Persian-language satellite channel, has called on women in Iran to observe "White Wednesdays", wearing white and removing their veils and waving them overhead on sticks to protest against the compulsory hijab and other religious restrictions imposed on women.

A video showing an elderly woman removing her Hijab and waving it on a stick has gone viral.

Tehran police said on Thursday that the campaign had been instigated from outside Iran through illegal satellite channels.

Montazeri said those flouting "hijab" rules - which require headscarves and modest clothing - must have been encouraged by outsiders.But even religiously conservative Iranians have voiced support for the protests, with many saying that religious rules should be a personal choice.

The woman, named "girl of Enghelab street" after the location of her protest, was filmed without her headscarf, while standing on a pillar box in Tehran last December.

While hijab protests are not new, Dagres said that recent rallies were inspired by a lone female demonstrator, who stood on a busy pavement in central Tehran waving her white headscarf on a wooden stick.

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Iran's prosecutor general, Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, described the protests on Wednesday as "childish", "emotionally charged" and instigated "from outside the country". The footage shows Mohaved waving her white hijab defiantly from the end of a pole, her black hair flowing uncovered.

Women and girls older than age 9 have been required to wear a headscarf and long, wide coats to hide their hair and body since Iran's Islamic Revolution of 1979.

Iranian officials have accused her of receiving money from foreign governments to fund her two separate anti-compulsory hijab campaigns - the first one is My Stealthy Freedom.

Iranian President Hassan Rowhani has not yet addressed the headscarf protests, though he did say Thursday that the government must do better in listening to its population.

"At the same time, movements always start as small acts of resistance".

She added that when it comes to women's rights in Iran, amendments to the marriage and divorce laws need greater attention.

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