The organization of cemeteries for Tehran Province said 98 gravestones with images of women with “improper hijab” were removed from graves.
Saeed Ghazanfari, the head of Behesht-e Zahra, the largest cemetery in Iran, said that 98 gravestones that had images of women without a hijab or improper hijab on them were ‘corrected’.
Upon announcing the news, Ghazanfari warned the “offending” stonemasons and gravestone installers that Behesht Zahra Cemetary would stop cooperating with them.
Ghazanfari said: “Engraving images of women without hijab is not worthy of the graves of believers” and “we still stand by our beliefs, even though we are insulted by the opposing media.”
“We warned sellers and installers that we will sever our business ties with them, and they cannot operate [in the cemetery] if any of the pictures on the gravestones violate the hijab rule,” Ghazanfari noted.
“We inform the families about the rules before the burials and have them sign the relevant documents,” Ghazanfari explained. “However, some people put a picture of a deceased woman wearing no hijab on a gravestone.”
Destroying or damaging some graves or destroying cemeteries in Iran is not unprecedented.
In October 2020, the board of trustees of Royan City Cemetery in Mazandaran, northern Iran, distorted the images of women carved on their gravestones without informing their relatives.
Following the move, the board said, “Putting the images of women on their gravestones is not religiously and traditionally correct.”
According to the state-run IRNA news agency, “The distraught family of the deceased demanded the cemetery’s management to investigate the incident and find out what happened.”
“I was shocked to see my mother’s picture covered with paint when I visited her grave on Thursday,” Fatemeh Haji Ahmadi, whose mother’s headstone was vandalized, told IRNA’s reporter.
“No one gave us an explanation. However, we later heard that the cemetery’s management had approved the measure, arguing that having pictures of women on gravestones violated religious laws.”