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Iranian President’s Wife Writing Book in Response to Michelle Obama’s

Jamileh Alamolhoda is the wife of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. Kholood Eid for NPR
Jamileh Alamolhoda is the wife of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. Kholood Eid for NPR

On Tuesday, the wife of the Islamic Republic of Iran's current President, Ebrahim Raisi, hosted an international event on the role of women in media in the province of Mashhad, announcing her desire to write a book similar to former United States First Lady Michelle Obama.

"They asked me to write a book similar to this one,” Jamileh Alamolhoda, Raisi's wife, said, as reported by Iran news website Rouydad24.

"I read the book, and it was very beautiful, captivating, and influential. I even showed some parts of it to the President, and he said that writing a book in this field is the right thing to do," she said.

Alamolhoda stated that she would hire a team of ghostwriters to pen the book, adding that it is unlikely that former First Lady Obama wrote her book and that " a team of experts was probably involved.

"The book served as a role model for girls worldwide. It follows the pattern of Cinderella. An ordinary girl moves from ordinary life to the highest worldly position," she said.

The conference's presenters said that around 100 media women from 40 countries attended and that Alamolhoda was introduced as "Iran's First Lady" when she took to the stage. However, she stated that the wife of the Iranian Supreme Leader is the country's first lady, given Ali Khamenei's power in Iran.

Jamileh Alamolhoda's statement drew a wide range of reactions from the citizenry of Iran and government officials, with some speaking out against the existence of such a position in "an Islamic society" and characterizing it as a Western idea.

Iranian politicians and pundits published articles about Raisi's wife, criticizing her for her double-standard approach to Western culture as she reiterates that Iranian women can best serve the family as child-bearing housewives, noting her involvement with her husband on foreign trips.

In an interview with ABC "This Week" several days ago, Alamolhoda repeated claims by her country's officials that the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini last fall was the result of a pre-existing illness. Alamolhoda defended Tehran's approach to requiring headscarves for women in public while seeking to minimize the crackdown on protests sparked by Amini's death.

When pressed on her opinion of a recent law passed by Iran's parliament that imposes harsher sentences on women who violate the country's hijab laws, Alamolhoda did not answer directly but compared the law to "dress codes everywhere."

"You have dress codes everywhere, even here in university environments, in schools, and everywhere else," Alamolhoda told ABC "This Week."

"And I need to tell you that hijab was a tradition, was a religiously mandated tradition, accepted widely. And now for years, it has been turned into a law. And breaking of the law, trampling upon any laws, just like in any country, comes with its own set of punishments," she added.

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