Iranian University Fires Female Doctor for Refusing to Wear Hijab

Dr. Fatemeh Rajaei-Rad, a professor and surgeon, was fired from the Babol University of Medical Sciences for attending an award ceremony without wearing a hijab. Rajaei-Rad was seen in a video from the event receiving the award with her hair uncovered and a scarf wrapped around her neck. Iranian officials expressed outrage at the footage, with the Friday Prayer Imam of Amol and the representative for Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in the Mazandaran Province calling for legal action against the surgeon. Rajaei-Rad was summoned to the Amol prosecutor’s office soon after the event, and the head of the hospital where the ceremony took place was replaced. After the incident, a video was published showing the surgeon apologizing for not wearing the hijab and for “insulting the sanctities” of religious citizens. A close relative of Rajaei-Rad told the Independent Persian that the surgeon had been detained, beaten, and threatened by intelligence department agents in Amol and forced to read a pre-written text for the video. The president of Babol University of Medical Sciences announced that Rajaei-Rad’s membership on the academic board would be revoked, and she was ultimately fired from the university. The firing of Rajaei-Rad came as the European Parliament awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to Mahsa Amini and the Woman, Life, Freedom Movement. Amini’s family was banned from leaving Iran by Iranian authorities after they were meant to be present at the award ceremony.