Between June 6-7, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the EU Parliament, sent a delegation to Iran. The delegation was composed by Mr Elmar Brok (EPP, DE), Chair of AFET, and included representatives of a broad range of political groups in the European Parliament: Andrej Plenkovic (EPP, HR), Richard Howitt (S&D, UK), Josef Weidenholzer (S&D, AT), Marietje Schaake (ALDE, NL), Urmas Paet (ALDE, ET) and Klaus Buchner (Greens/EFA, DE). From what it was possible to read on Internet, the EU delegation was barred from speaking with foreign media. More: the conservative faction started a polemic against Mrs. Marietje Schaake – EU Dutch MP – for her dressing, considered to be disrespectful and even ‘uncultured’.
Returning from Iran, Marietje Schaake wrote a post on her blog commenting the polemic against her suit. She wrote: “A serious discussion about what is and is not appropriate and respectful should not only be held over the heads of women. With more political, business and tourist visitors coming to the Islamic Republic of Iran, a debate on whether it is appropriate to ask visitors to obey by strict religious laws has already started in Iran. There is great variety in the way women cover their heads in Iran, and the fact that all women on the airplane to Iran cover only after landing, or the massive support for movements such as My Stealthy Freedom reveal that this is a lively issue for women in Iran first and foremost…There is still a long way to go before women are treated equally in Iran. While education and employment figures are reason for optimism, family and labor laws allow for discrimination. Political representation is also very low. We discussed with (female) Vice-President Ebtekar what she believes are opportunities for reform in this field in Iran“.
Opening the Iranian MFA website, it seems that – at least for the moment – Tehran has no intention to follow the “suggestion” of Marietje Schaake. Unfortunately for the Dutch beautiful lady, the Iranian MFA has decided to cut her face from the picture of the meeting between Foreign Minister Zarif and EU delegation. No one could say, for sure, that this was an act of censorship, but considering that Mrs. Marietje Schaake was the only woman of the delegation, her absence from the photo is very strange.
Errata Corrige: EU MP Marietje Schaake’ position on the table was on the left, but still remains out of the picture…
Photo from Iran MFA website
Photo from Twitter account of Mrs. Schaake (she is the one, sitting in front with the white veil)