A new wave of harassing women in Iran for improper Hijab
Repression and harassing women in Iran with the excuse of improper hijab is one of the main tools of religious fascism to silence all of society and distract Iranians from demanding the regime’s overthrow.
Enforcing the compulsory hijab was one of Khomeini’s first acts that took place just a few days after the 1979 Revolution against the Iranian monarchy. He championed the slogan, “Either the veil or a hit on the head.”
This law has existed for the past 40 years by the clerical rule, but as dissatisfaction in society increases, we see an increase in arrests and executions, as well as a new wave of attacks against and harassing women in Iran under the pretext of protecting the compulsory hijab law.
In the summer, when people are in greater need of lighter clothing – and especially this year as extreme heat, water shortages, and economic problems have overwhelmed people – government agencies and plainclothes agents, who are permitted to fire at will, have more excuses to commit acts of violence against women.
Reports and public images on social media have shown guidance patrols deployed in various parts of the city as they violently grab women and girls, shoving them into patrol vehicles before taking them away. Government-affiliated plainclothes agents are also free to insult women and abuse them.
In the past 2 months, the regime has passed new chastity and hijab laws and established a new headquarters empowered to force all agencies, officials, and business owners to harass women who fail to wear the compulsory veil. Moreover, leaders of Friday Prayers, as well as senior and junior government officials, have all called for tougher measures against women.
Governor of Fars: “If you cannot act within legal frameworks, take unpaid leave”
On July 5, 2022, Mohammad Hadi Imaniyeh, the Governor of Fars, ordered organizations and agencies to maximize repression and harassment of women for failing to observe “proper veiling.” The governor wants all women to comply fully with the regime’s stated standards by July 12.
While reiterating that government operatives have the right to fire at will in the face of public dissatisfaction with this law, the governor urged managers to seriously and bravely use “young forces” rather than waiting for commands.
This official then added a threat against women, warning, “Those who cannot act within the legal framework should take unpaid leave until they can respect the laws” (The state-run asriran.com – July 5, 2022).
On June 23, a video posted on social media showed a number of teenage girls walking with boys on Chamran Boulevard in Shiraz. The girls were not wearing the compulsory hijab. Soon after they were spotted, 10 people were arrested and some 20 cafes, where Shirazi youth usually gather, were sealed off.
Shiraz’s Governor, Lotfollah Sheibani, called the gathering “going against norms” when he announced the arrest of the 10 teenagers. He declared that the event had been “planned” and on June 24, 2022, threatened to take “judicial action” (The state-run Mashregh News – June 23, 2022).
Increase in guidance patrols in Mashhad, depriving improperly veiled women of public services
The Prosecutor’s Office of Mashhad sent a letter to the city’s governor, urging him to deny women entry to metro stations if they were not wearing the Hijab properly.
In the final week of June 2022, Esmaeil Rahmani wrote to Mashhad’s governorship and municipality, threatening that “metro officers who fail to report such cases will be considered “quitters” and those quitters who fail to carry out the order by July 6 will face Judicial process (The state-run Donya-e-Eqtesad – July 6, 2022).
In response to the letter and upon the judicial authority’s insistence, the mayor of Mashhad has decreed that the order will be implemented (The state-run tabnak.ir – July 5, 2022).
A member of Mashhad’s City Council quoted the mayor as saying, “We are ready to provide ID cards for those who have passed specialized courses in how to issue verbal warnings (to improperly veiled women) so they can use all metro facilities for free” (The state-run entekhab.ir – July 5, 2022).
Mehdi Reza’i, the Secretary of Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil Headquarters in Khorasan Razavi Province, also announced that in the past two weeks, 108 overt teams of three per team have visited 760 locations in Mashhad and reported nearly 35 “violation” cases.
According to Reza’i, plainclothes patrols throughout Mashhad are also cracking down on and harassing women in Iran under the pretext of the improper hijab (The state-run ISNA news agency – July 2, 2022).
The new employee dress code, which has been communicated to government agencies, prohibits even the use of fragrant perfumes and cologne. Managers of these government institutions and plainclothes patrols will be on the watch for “tight or loose clothing, dress length, high heels, and the use of nail polish or makeup.”
Accordingly, the secretary and director of a male’s office should be men only and a female’s office to be women. Men and women are not allowed to publish personal photographs without the “Islamic dress code” in cyberspace.
In addition, Esmail Rahmani, Mashhad’s deputy prosecutor, sent a letter to Mashhad’s governor asking him to refrain from providing services to women wearing hijab improperly at “offices and banks” (The state-run entekhab.ir – July 4, 2022).
Public reports indicate that in recent weeks, guidance patrols and cases of insulting and harassing women in Iran under the pretext of improper hijab have increased dramatically in all major cities.
Nevertheless, Iranians, especially women, are not deceived by the mullahs. Knowing the regime, they confront corruption and oppression in all their protest gatherings.
In a meeting on June 28, 2022, Ali Khamenei told judicial authorities, “If you neglect Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil, the Islamic system will be attacked” (Khamenei.ir – June 27, 2022).
On July 7, 8, and 10, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, called on Iran’s youths, shop owners, and businessmen to protest at any cost to prevent insulting and harassing women in Iran under the pretext of improper veiling.
Mrs. Rajavi said: The “compulsory Hijab” is the other side of the “mandatory removal of veils.” It is a threadbare method of dictatorships, from Reza Shah to Khomeini, against which people must protest and rise up.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) adopted a Women’s Freedoms and Rights plan in 1987. The NCRI emphasized the right of all Iranian women to “freely choose their clothing and covering,” and all its forces and members comply with it.
We have repeatedly reiterated our position: “No to the compulsory veil, no to the compulsory religion, and no to the compulsory government.”