on Saturday 30 March, 2024

Iran Dismisses Ambassador After Interview With Unveiled Reporter

Iran's Ambassador to Azerbaijan Abbas Mousavi during an interview at Iran's embassy in Baku (March 2024)
by : Iran International

Iran’s Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Abbas Mousavi, has been dismissed from his role, according to the IRGC-affiliated Tasnim news agency.

This news, just a mere two weeks after Iranian state media started a barrage of criticism against the now former Ambassador, following an interview he gave to a female reporter in Baku, who was not wearing a hijab.

A career diplomat, Mousavi served as spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2019 to 2020 – most notably during the time of then-Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. Mousavi was appointed as Iran's ambassador to Azerbaijan in August 2020.

Images and video clips of Baku TV's female presenter Sevinc Gülməmmədova interviewing the now-dismissed Ambassador had spread rapidly across social media, sparking outrage among regime supporters who condemned her dress code as offensive.

While not confirmed officially, it appears the controversy over this interview may have been the reason for Mousavi’s dismissal from his role as Ambassador.

Prior to the dismissal, the Tasnim news agency had made its case that the interview took place in the Iranian regime’s embassy in Baku, which is considered Iran’s territory under international law – and that Iranian diplomats worldwide are mandated to adhere to the principles of the Islamic Republic.

Furthermore, the agency claimed that the female reporter's presence without a hijab is viewed as a disregard for Iran's rules and regulations.

Tasnim argued that Gülməmmədova's “breach” of hijab codes is especially serious because it transpired within the confines of the Iranian embassy and in the company of the Iranian ambassador, insisting the Ambassador should resign "for the sake of Iran’s honor”.

Gülməmmədova, who has conducted interviews with various foreign officials, has not faced criticism for not wearing a hijab, even during interviews with Ambassadors from the UAE and Pakistan.

Meanwhile, BultanNews, aligned with regime hardliners, had asserted that the Azerbaijani reporter's attire violated diplomatic protocols and showed insufficient respect for Iranian officials. The media outlet emphasized that the interview took place beneath the portraits of Iran's former leader Ruhollah Khomeini, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and Qasem Soleimani, the top Iranian military commander killed in a 2020 US drone strike in Iraq.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs should be held accountable [for this interview]. Why should Iran’s honor be tarnished on Iranian soil?” BultanNews added.

The regime imposes draconian hijab laws, severely punishing Iranian girls and women who fail to abide by the Islamic Republic’s strict codes.

One of the last victims of the Iranian regime’s repressive hijab policy was Armita Geravand. The 16-year-old girl passed away on October 28, 2023, after spending approximately a month in a coma due to brain damage inflicted during a violent altercation with the regime’s hijab enforcers.