Iranian President Hassan Rouhani praised Iranian-born mathematician and first female winner of the Field Medal, Maryam Mirzakhani, using a picture of her uncovered hair next to one with her headscarf on Twitter.

Two pictures of 37-year-old Mirzakhani were shared on the president’s English Twitter account, one of her wearing the hijab – which is required by Iranian law – and one of her without it.

Rouhani mentioned that concentration should not be placed on the choice of clothing, but rather on the virtue. He said that many women who disrespect the laws of hijab are still virtuous – words that were considered quite progressive women’s rights in Iran.

Mirzakhani was recently honored with the Fields Medal, the most prestigious award in mathematics, making her both the first woman as well as the first Iranian to win the award.

Rouhani was previously criticized for his moderate views by the Iranian Right Wing party.



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