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Iran's own '#MeToo' amid allegations against celebrities

Twitter logo [Mehmet Kaman - Anadolu Agency]
Twitter logo [Mehmet Kaman - Anadolu Agency]

Twitter hashtags related to sexual harassment against Iranian women have been trending recently after users come forward on social media platforms speaking out and sharing their experiences and accusing a number of celebrities of raping and molesting them, including in public places and religious shrines.

According to a report by Radio Farda, the hashtag rape is among the top ten most used on "Persian Twitter". The campaign raising awareness of the allegations was said to have started after several people came forward naming a high-profile individual accused of intoxicating and raping a number of women.

In another case, a female journalist said one of the country's best-known painters and art instructors had assaulted her and that he has previously been accused of sexual violence against his pupils.

Some men also spoke out of abuse they have suffered, including rape which took place during their two-year compulsory military service by their superiors, while some female students said a female teacher had sexually assaulted them.

READ: Iran FM cites Khamenei fatwa not to develop nuclear weapons

This is not the first time such allegations have made their way onto social media, with similar campaigns reported in 2018 which include the hashtag #MosqueMeToo to raise awareness of sexual harassment taking place at religious sites and during the Hajj annual pilgrimage.

In October 2018 Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, advocated the wearing of the hijab as Islam's way of solving the "disaster of countless sexual assaults on Western women" and referenced the #MeToo movement as it gained widespread media attention in the aftermath of the high-profile claims made against Harvey Weinstein in October 2017.

However, on Sunday a moderate conservative news website Fararu said: "Well-known people have been named and more will probably be named… Let's see where these revelations will lead to and whether the accused will be prosecuted [by the justice system]."

READ: Egypt approves law to protect identities of women reporting sex abuse

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