Model sparks anger in native Iran for wearing noose at Cannes festival

Model sparks anger in native Iran for wearing noose at Cannes festival

June 1, 2023

Model sparks anger in her native Iran by wearing a dress with a NOOSE on Cannes festival red carpet to protest regime executions

  • Iranian model appeared at the Cannes Film Festival Friday with a divisive dress
  • May has been reported as the ‘bloodiest month’ for executions in Iran in 5 years 

An Iranian model has caused a stir with her decision to wear a dress to Cannes Film Festival featuring decoration in the style of a noose to protest regime executions.

Mahlagha Jaberi, 33, posted a video of her wearing the dress to Instagram on Sunday, ‘dedicated to the people of Iran’ with the hashtag #StopExecutionsInIran.

She was first seen in the dress by designer Jila Saber at ‘The Old Oak’ red carpet during the 76th annual Cannes film festival at Palais des Festivals on May 26.

The video and photographs of Jaberi in Cannes went viral, raising awareness of the regime’s recent hangings and drawing fire from some political commentators.

Journalist Yashar Ali wrote on Twitter to his 708k followers: ‘As innocent Iranians are being executed, @MahlaghaJaberi thought it would be a good idea to wear a dress that has a noose sown [sic] into it and then film a seductive video using a song that has become an anthem for protestors. Absolutely disgraceful all around.’

Mahlagha Jaberi attends the ‘The Old Oak’ red carpet during the 76th annual Cannes film festival at Palais des Festivals on May 26, 2023 in Cannes, France

Jaberi is pictured wearing the controversial dress with a noose design in Cannes on May 26

Following some backlash, Jaberi responded in another post on Instagram.

She wrote: ‘We wanted to make a fashion statement to observe the glamour of Cannes, but more importantly, to bring media attention to the wrongful executions of Iranian people. 

‘Unfortunately, political statements are not allowed at the film festival and the security stopped me from showing the back of my dress, but the ‘noose’ meaning was well understood.’

READ MORE: ‘F*** YOU PUTIN’: Ukrainian model Alina Baikova, 34, makes bold fashion statement on Cannes red carpet as she rocks short yellow dress emblazoned with an expletive-laden message for the Russian dictator 

The back of the dress was seen to also have ‘stop executions’ written across the bottom.

Comments varied in response. The top comment, at the time of writing, read: ‘All love and respect for you and the oppressed Iranian people. I wish you freedom and democracy.’

Below that, another read: ‘I see what your intention was but this is in very bad taste. A noose dress? This is not how you show solidarity with people who’ve been hung. Think about black Americans.’

Jaberi’s post had nearly 100,000 likes within 16 hours.

Human Rights Watch, investigating abuses worldwide, identified on May 12 an ‘alarming surge in executions’ since the start of the month.

They noted that since late April, authorities had executed ‘at least 60 people’, ‘most of them executed after unfair trials or for charges, such as drug offences and two executions for “blasphemy”, that under international law should never result in the death penalty.’

Tara Sepheri Far, senior Iran researcher at Human Rights Watch, said: ‘Iranian authorities are apparently using executions, an inhumane punishment, following unfair trials as a show of force against its own people, who are demanding fundamental change.

‘The international community should unequivocally condemn this terrifying trend and press Iranian officials to halt these executions.’

The Norway-based Iran Human Rights group said on May 19 that at least 90 had been executed since May 1, making May the bloodiest month in five years. 

Iran continues to face harsh sanctions from the US, EU and UN over human rights abuses and its nuclear programme.

Vedant Patel, the principal deputy spokesperson for the US State Department, said in response to execution of three pro-democracy protestors earlier this month: ‘We join the people of Iran and the international community in calling on Iran to not carry out these executions.

‘The execution of these men – after what have been widely regarded as sham trials – would be an affront to human rights and basic dignity in Iran and everywhere.

‘It is clear from this episode that the Iranian regime has learned nothing from the protests that began with another death, the death of Mahsa Amini in September of last year. 

‘We once again urge Iran’s leadership to stop the killing, stop the sham trials, and respect people’s human rights. We are continuing to work in close coordination with our allies and partners around the world to condemn and confront these appalling human rights abuses.’

Former Vice President and 107 other former world leaders on May 23 signed a letter to President Biden and equivalents in Canada and Europe to adopt a tougher stance on Iran and to support anti-regime protestors.

American journalist Yashar Ali was critical of the decision to wear the dress with the noose

Video by Joy Strotz shows Jaberi wearing the dress by Jila Saber on Instagram

Jaberi appears to adjust the dress by Jila Saber at the 76th Cannes Film Festival on May 26

Protests have been mounting in and outside of Iran since 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, died in police custody in Tehran in September 2022 after being arrested for allegedly violating strict hijab rules.

READ MORE: Boys and girls as young as 12 ‘are being raped, flogged and given electric shocks while held for taking part in protests against morality police in Iran’ 

She went into a coma after being arrested in Tehran and died in hospital on 16 September 2022. 

The Islamic Republic’s officials told media that Amini suffered a heart attack while detained by ‘morality police’, denying reports she had been beaten.

Her detention and death has inspired a vast protest movement, with demonstrations taking place in Iran and worldwide against the regime.

Iranian rights activists have urged women to publicly remove their veils, risking arrest for defying the Islamic dress code.

In the year to March 2014 – the last with data available – patrols stopped nearly three million women for not wearing their hijab in line with regulations. 

Amnesty International reported in March that children as young as 12 have since been subjected to rape, electrocution and flogging for their involvement in nationwide protests against the Iranian regime.

A horrifying report revealed that ‘Iran’s intelligence and security forces have been committing horrific acts of torture, including beatings, flogging, electric shocks, rape and other sexual violence against child protestors as young as 12 to quell their involvement in nationwide protests.’

Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director, said Iran’s ‘violence against children exposes deliberate strategy to crush the vibrant spirit of the country’s youth and stop them from demanding freedom and human rights.’ 

Jaberi wows on the red carpet at Cannes Festival, wearing the noose dress, on May 26

Photographers are pictured behind the 33-year-old Jaberi at Palais des Festivals on May 26

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) reported that last year, Iranian authorities executed 565 people, including 5 who were under 18 at the time they allegedly committed the crime. 

Between January 1 and May 5, 2023, Iran executed at least 192 people, including 8 women, the majority of them for drug-related offenses and murder.

Iran currently faces additional clashes with The Taliban, ruling Afghanistan, with whom they clashed on the border over water rights on May 27, killing at least three.

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