Swedish politicians have hit out at feminist politician Ann Linde wearing a headscarf in Iran
Trade Minister Ann Linde, who is well-known as a women’s rights campaigner, has sparked outrage in Sweden after she was pictured with her female colleagues wearing a hijab during a trade visit in Iran.
The Swedish women all put headscarves on when they landed on Iranian soil over the weekend for a visit led by Prime Minister Stefan Löfven aimed at encouraging economic co-operation between the two countries.
Photos show the women wearing scarves over their heads meeting President Hasan Rouhani and eight ministers, as well as in meetings where banners read “distinguished guests from Sweden welcome to IDRO”.
Iranian women are fighting for their right not to wear the veil
The move has sparked criticism from fellow Swedish politicians who have called the headscarf oppressive and said the decision for a “feminist government” to wear a hijab sends a highly negative signal to Iranian women fighting for the right to not wear a veil.
Ms Linde said she did not want to violate the law in Iran where it has been mandatory for women to wear headdress since the 1979 revolution.
Ann Linde (second from left) wore a number of different headscarves during the Iran visit
Amine Kakabaveh, from the Swedish Left Party, said: “Iranian women are fighting for their right not to wear the veil.
“Then feminist government representatives pop in, all veil-dressed, and instead of making a stand tells them to accept it.
"I am upset and angry. It all should have been so obvious for a feminist government, but instead it acts just like any other.”
The Iranian Kurd, who fled to Sweden from Iran, pointed out German Chancellor Angela Merkel did not wear a headscarf when she visited Saudi Arabia in 2010.
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Ann Linde is well-known for her feminist stance
German leader Angela Merkel did not wear a hijab on a visit to Saudi Arabia, over the Persian Gulf
And Liberal leader Jan Björklund, said: “The Islamic veil symbolises the oppression of women in Iran, and constitutes not only customary, but legislated oppression of women.
“It is very unfortunate that the Swedish minister chose to appear in a veil.
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“It's almost a breakdown of what is being described a 'feminist foreign policy.”
Last January Michelle Obama hit headlines for not wearing a headscarf while her and Barack Obama offered their condolences to the late King of Saudi Arabia in the Middle Eastern country.
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