The Islamic Republic’s judiciary chief, Gholam-Hussein Mohseni-Edschehi, has announced tougher penalties for women who remove the obligatory veil in public. Those “who commit such anomalous acts will be punished” and “persecuted without mercy,” he said, according to several Iranian media outlets. Removing the hijab disregards public decorum and violates Sharia law and Iranian law. These violations would be supported by Iran’s enemies. However, Mohseni-Edschehi left open what penalties the women can expect.
A devout Iranian MP was even more radical. Hossein Ali Haji has called for legislative action to enforce what he calls the “divine decree” of the hijab, according to a report by the BBC. If the judiciary does not take appropriate action within the next 48 hours, MPs will introduce a bill to fill the legal vacuum. He said this was in line with a report by the Parliamentary Culture Commission on “Chastity and the Hijab”.
The demonstrative renunciation of a headscarf, which covers the entire hair, has become a central symbol of resistance against the regime in Tehran. The protests, which have been going on for months, were triggered by the death of 22-year-old Jina Mahsa Amini, who died in police custody in mid-September. The vice squad arrested her for allegedly wearing her headscarf incorrectly.
violence against mass protests
The police largely use brute force against rallies. According to human rights activists, more than 500 people were killed in clashes with security forces. Thousands of people were arrested and four protesters were executed. The uprisings in the fall plunged the political leadership into one of the worst crises in decades.
No more fear: women without a headscarf in front of a snack bar in northern Tehran in March 2023
After the wave of protests against the Islamic system of rule, many women continue to demonstratively ignore the dress code. Videos and images released online show that frustration and anger at the restrictions in Iranian society is still strong.
A video released this week shows a man throwing a cup of yogurt in the face of an unveiled woman. His action was greeted with outrage by male and female onlookers, the BBC reports. In many cities, the authorities are now turning a blind eye. At the same time, violations of the headscarf requirement are tracked by video surveillance.
Headscarf declared Iran’s “civilizational basis”.
On Thursday, the interior ministry described the headscarf as “one of the foundations of civilization in the Iranian nation” and appealed to citizens to confront unveiled women. According to the ministry, there is neither retreat nor tolerance on this issue. The statement said the hijab remains an essential element of Islamic law and as such will remain one of the most important principles of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Under Islamic Sharia, introduced in 1979, women are required to cover their hair and wear long, loose-fitting clothing to hide their figure. Violators face fines or arrest.
kle/uh (rtr, dpa, BBC)