The Iran Project

Feminist Sweden puts on Hijab in hope of doing more business with Iran

Zanganeh & Ann Linde

Sputnik News-Sweden’s government takes great pride in being the world’s first to have adopted an overtly feminist stance. Nevertheless, a Swedish government minister and her female colleagues had to put aside their feminist pride and wear hijabs, as Stockholm was attempting to mend fences with Iran and strike lucrative deals.

Last weekend, an imposing Swedish delegation, which was led by Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and included high-ranking representatives of Swedish industry, visited Iran with the double goal of boosting economic ties with the Islamic Republic and taking a stand for human rights.

During the visit, which greased the machinery of bilateral economic cooperation with a number of useful contacts, the two countries pledged to cooperate in areas such as science and technology, education, research, transport and telecommunications. Needless to say, it all had a price to pay, as Sweden ostensibly had to dampen some of its criticism of Iran’s human rights record and treatment of women.

Remarkably, when the Swedish delegation landed on Iranian soil, all the Swedish women put on Muslim veils in order to comply with the strict religious rules of the theocracy. Swedish Trade Minister Ann Linde, who had previously earned a reputation as a campaigner for women’s rights, was seen wearing Islamic garments during her meetings with Iranian officials, including President Hasan Rouhani and eight ministers, in a photo gallery posted by Iranian news agency IRNA.

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