Monday, May 30, 2005

Thorn in the side of Iran's conservative Majlis

Masih Alinejad is a slight woman of 28 who instantly shows the nervous energy that has helped make her such a controversial figure in Iranian politics.

For a journalist to be called "rude" by politicians is hardly new. But for Ms Alinejad to be called "flirtatious" was deeply injurious in such a conservative Islamic country, and the accusation she stole deputies' pay slips for a story led to her expulsion last month from Iran's parliamentary lobby.

Ms Alinejad has no regrets. And she has now hit back with a political novel, Taj-e Khaar (Crown of Thorns), in reference to her first name, the Farsi equivalent of Jesus.

"I wanted to write a book that would interest people disillusioned with politics, so they know what's going on in the parliament," Ms Alinejad explains, during a break in the offices of ILNA, the semi-official Iranian Labour News Agency.

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