An Iranian actress was forced to flee to the United Arab Emirates last week, after facing public scrutiny over photos published showing her without the traditional Muslim headcovering, or hijab.   

Sadaf Taherian posted the photos on Facebook and Instagram in protest of strict dress codes in Iran, where women have been legally forced to wear head coverings since 1979. 

The Iranian Ministry of Culture intervened, however - not only photoshopping the hijab back into the photos, but calling Taherian "immoral" and threatening to revoke her work license. An angry broadcast over the posts has also exposed the young actress to a steady stream of public abuse. 

"I did not expect this from the people of Iran, from my own culture – to hear so many insults," Taherian stated to "Tablet," a show on Voice of America's Farsi channel. 

"I can only feel sorry for their reaction and I have nothing else to say. I want to live in a place and live the way that makes me happy."

Taherian, who is hoping to rebuild her career in Dubai, also spoke out about sexual harassment in her home country. Her career contracts, she said, would often include a clause obligating her to enter a relationship with the director. 

“It bothered me when I was acting and the director was thinking about me in any way except acting,” she said. “He was only waiting for the scene to finish so he could whisper in my ear again."