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Men In Hijabs: Iranian Green Movement's New Tactic

Iranian oppositionists have launched a campaign in support of student Majid Tavakoli, who was arrested on Students Day on December 7 after giving a passionate speech during an antigovernment protest at Tehran’s Amir Kabir University.

Watch the speech here.

The semi-official Fars news agency posted pictures of Tavakoli dressed as a woman after he reportedly tried to escape by disguising himself. Fars paired a picture of Tavakoli with one of Abol Hassan Bani Sadr, Iran’s first president after the 1979 revolution, who reportedly escaped in 1981 disguised as a woman.

In solidarity with Tavakoli, some Iranian men are taking pictures of themselves while wearing the Islamic hijab, which is compulsory for women in Iran, and posting the pictures on Facebook. (Check out the photos here.)

They are calling for an end to Iran’s mistreatment of prisoners including Tavakoli.

The Islamic Association of the Amir Kabir University has also condemned the arrest of Tavakoli and other students and said that Tavakoli, whether dressed as a woman or a man, is the pride of Iran’s student movement.

Others have reacted to the Fars news pictures by creating mockups of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and President Mahmud Ahmadinejad dressed as women.

Within a few days, Tavakoli has become a new hero of Iran’s Green movement. Oppositionists say he was beaten up during his arrest had already spent several days in jail before his detention this week.

He’s being praised for his courage to stand up to repression despite the fact that he was aware that he could be rearrested and jailed. He reportedly traveled from Bandar Abbas to Tehran to attend the Students Day protest.

Here is a translation of Tavakoli’s last post on Facebook from the blog "Enduring America."

Only two more days [to Monday's demonstrations].

I have spent ten exhausting days on the road with more than 100 hours of driving and now I have to leave for Tehran.

Looking at my mother’s tearful eyes and father’s anxious glances and despite all the difficulties only the true wish for freedom can maintain my drive and steadfastness.

And so once again I welcome and accept all the dangers, standing next to my friends with whom I am honored and proud to be on 16 Azar shoulder to shoulder we will shout against tyranny. For Freedom.

-- Golnaz Esfandiari

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