Muslim schoolgirls (illustrative)
Muslim schoolgirls (illustrative) Israel news photo: Flash 90

An Iranian lawmaker has griped that female Russian technicians working at the Bushehr nuclear power plant are not respecting the country’s dress code despite being paid to wear the Islamic headscarf, known as the hijab.

Seyyed Mehdi Mousavi Nejad, a member of parliament from Dashtestan in the southern Bushehr Province, said that while female Russian employees working at the nuclear power plant receive a “hijab payment”, they do not fulfill their “commitments” or “properly observe” what is required by their contracts, the ISNA news agency reported on Tuesday.

He alleged that female workers often appear in markets and streets without the hijab or with a “poor hijab”, adding that he is unaware of how much money is being paid or how many female technicians are employed at the site.

One day after the report, however, Iran denied the claims that it is paying the employees to wear the traditional headscarf, the Fars news agency reported.

"Based on the reports we got from our local office and the governor's office in Bushehr, hijab payment for Russian women is absolutely not true," Hassan Ghashghavi, deputy foreign minister in charge of consular affairs, was quoted as saying.

"There is no mention of such issue in the contract between Russia and Iran's atomic energy organization or any local contracts. There is no hijab payment to the Russian women nor to any foreigner working in Iran," he stressed.

Ghashghavi added that the Russian women adhere to the "moral codes and norms of the religious people of Bushehr."

Russia took over as the main contractor at Bushehr in the 1990s.

All women in Iran, regardless of their nationality or religion, are required to cover their hair and much of their body, in accordance with strict Islamic laws.