Iranian model's noose dress executions protest at Cannes Film Festival criticised as 'disgraceful'

An Iranian-born model has left the internet divided after wearing a dress that resembled a noose.

Mahlagha Jaberi, 33, said she wore the dress to the 76th Cannes Film Festival to "make a statement" and to draw awareness to the executions happening in Iran.

She also shared a video and picture of it on Instagram.

The video involved different close-up shots of the model in the dress with text which said: "Stop executions."

In another post, the model said she wanted to "bring media attention" to the situation in Iran.

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."

There have been months of continuing protests since September last year, triggered by the killing of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after she was detained by Iran's morality police.

However, the post and video by the model attracted criticism on social media.

Journalist Yashar Ali said the model's video was "absolutely disgraceful."

He said: "As innocent Iranians are being executed, @MahlaghaJaberi thought it would be a good idea to wear a dress that has a noose sown into it and then film a seductive video using a song that has become an anthem for protesters.

"Absolutely disgraceful all around.

"And then to end the video with "stop executions" and no other context or information makes it unhelpful!"

Others, however, were quick to defend Jaberi.

One social media user wrote: "Why not appreciate her effort? Doesn't intent matter?"

While another said: "I look at this as her way of protesting and her way of supporting protesters. I don't think she did anything malicious at all."

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Fight for women isn't over

Although Iran said it pardoned thousands of people arrested in relation to protests, it also appears to be carrying out a crackdown in 2023 so far.

Authorities in the country have executed at least 60 people since late April, according to Human Rights Watch.

Earlier this month, Iran executed two men for blasphemy.

The country's authorities accused the men of being involved in a channel on messaging app Telegram - which they claimed insulted Islam and promoted atheism.

The men were also accused of burning the Koran or sharing an image of the act of burning Islam's holy book on the Telegram channel.

Alireza Akbari, a British-Iranian national, was also executed earlier this year after being accused of spying for the UK.

At the time, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he was "appalled" by the execution.

He added: "This was a callous and cowardly act, carried out by a barbaric regime with no respect for the human rights of their own people.

"My thoughts are with Alireza's friends and family."