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Iranians tried to rally for International Women's Day. Police were waiting for them

Shashank Bengali and Ramin Mostaghim, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

Outside a French-themed coffee shop where Movahedi stood, police vans and officers were stationed Thursday to deter demonstrators.

Sotoudeh, who said 14 women had been arrested outside the Labor Ministry, questioned the Iranian authorities' focus on moral policing.

"I wonder why, in a crime-ridden megacity such as Tehran, with lots of pickpockets and burglaries and shoplifting cases on a daily basis, why our respected public prosecutor is only thinking about a half-meter piece of cloth on women's heads," Soutoudeh said.

Iran's state-run media did not report any arrests Thursday. Many instead quoted Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as saying, on the occasion of International Women's Day, that "women are the managers of the home and a source of peace in the minds of men."

Iran's theocracy has also declared its own women's day, to be observed March 9, commemorating what it says was the birth of Fatimah, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad.

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(Special correspondent Mostaghim reported from Tehran, and staff writer Bengali from Mumbai, India.)

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