Hijab Campaigns seek widespread arrests among Iranian women
The world is mustering all their resources to fight and overcome the Coronavirus pandemic. Iran’s ruling regime, however, is concentrating all its resources on expanding the presence and activities of security forces.
Instead of finding ways to ensure compliance with hygiene protocols to check the rising number of casualties, the regime is focused on beefing up its armed forces.
The clerical regime’s red line is preempting the outbreak of street protests. This was best demonstrated in the developments of the past month:
- Launching Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) “hit squads” in all neighborhoods to crush any protest before inception.
- Establishing a central headquarters intended ostensibly to fight thugs and hooligans, but originally to arrest protesters.
- Handing down death sentences and carrying out the executions of detained protesters.
- Ramping up control of social media posts, by arresting and summoning the users.
- And finally, launching Hijab campaigns –-code-named Nazer—apparently to enforce the mandatory Hijab. However, they seek to arrest more women.
All these measures aim to suppress fundamental freedoms and terrorize the public in a bid to prevent eruption of any form of protest. Something that is spearheaded by women as the most dissatisfied sector of Iranian society.
70% of the people of Iran oppose mandatory Hijab – expert
Iran is the only country in the world where women are flogged 74 lashes if they appear in public without covering their hair. In many cases, however, the punishment does not stop there.
The punishments also include widespread arrests and long-term prison sentences for “improper veiling” and “spread of corruption and prostitution.”
Saba Kord Afshari was sentenced to 24 years in prison for showing her opposition to the mandatory Hijab. She is presently serving her term in the women’s ward of Evin Prison.
Increasing pressure on Iranian society and women, however, has produced opposite results.
Mehdi Nassiri, former managing editor of the state-run Kayhan daily newspaper said this in a television interview on September 16, 2020: “70 percent of the people of Iran oppose mandatory enforcement of Hijab. Every year sees some 5 percent decrease in the number of women complying with the Hijab.”
“Even in religious cities like Qom, the majority of people oppose the mandatory Hijab.”
Resentment against the mandatory Hijab is extensive, compelling one of the Judiciary officials in Qazvin to acknowledge it. Nourollah Qodrati said there were 110 legislations, directives and ratified documents on Hijab the regime could not enforce. (The state-run Tasnim news agency – September 5, 2020)
Call to make society unsafe for opponents of mandatory Hijab
The Friday Prayer Leader of Isfahan, central Iran, recently called for formation of special court branches to tackle “moral abnormalities.”
Yousef Tabatabaii-Nejad urged the authorities to grant greater powers to the State Security Force (SSF) to deal with Hijab offenders. His comments came in a meeting with a top Armed Forces’ security official and the SSF Commander of Isfahan Province. By “Hijab offenders” he meant women who oppose the mandatory Hijab and display their opposition in various forms.
Tabatabaii-Nejad said: “The social atmosphere must be made unsafe for these people whose number is scarce. But they must not be allowed to be relaxed in streets and parks while breaking the norms.” (The state-run Mehr news agency – October 2, 2020)
The mullah also called on the courts to support those who forbid evil and promote virtue. He refers to Bassij forces who target women in the streets, violently forcing them to observe their mandatory Hijab.
Growing public resentment vs. escalating repression
The state media use the term “public distrust” to describe the volatile state of public detestation of the regime.
The mullahs spend all their time and energy to hold their grabs on power even if for one more day. To do so, they send young people to the gallows and boost the pressure on enchained prisoners. They deliberately expose them to the coronavirus to cause their gradual death.
To rein in the explosive public discontent, the regime has also resorted to worn-out measures, further proving its incompetence. The “Nazer” Hijab Campaigns send thousands of security forces to the streets to harass and arrest Iranian women and girls. The regime justifies its Hijab campaigns under the pretext of “moral security” and dealing with “improper veiling.”
The focus on Hijab campaigns is of special importance to the regime. The officials are all too familiar with the remarkable impact of Iranian women on anti-regime protests. They have experienced women’s presence in Resistance Units who lead and organize the regime’s opponents.
Nazer Hijab Campaigns 1 to 4
Acting SSF commander Qassem Rezaii recently announced the enforcement of four Nazer Plans. In addition to women removing their veil inside their cars, the Hijab campaigns will also deal with women who flout the mandatory Hijab code in shopping malls, major stores, recreation areas, walks, and the cyber space. (The state-run ROKNA news agency – September 20, 2020)
Rezaii said the SSF “works round the clock to fulfill its missions” in the Hijab Campaigns. He further explained: “The State Security Force has planned and executed four Hijab and Chastity plans. In Nazer 1 Plan, the SSF deals with individuals who violate the veiling code in their cars. The Nazer 2 Plan deals with women who remove their veil or do not properly observe it in shopping malls and major stores. Nazer 3 and 4 Plans focus on women who do not observe the veil in recreation areas, walks and also in the cyber space.”
Profile photos must comply with mandatory Hijab rules
Nazer 4 Plan has expanded the control of the mullahs’ Cyber Police (FATA). They monitor social media accounts on modelling, photography and art. Dozens of users of such accounts have been summoned in recent months. The charges leveled against them include dissemination of photos which “violate public chastity,” are “immoral” or “vulgar.”
One example of these interventions took place on September 27, 2020, in the city of Yazd, central Iran. The FATA Police entered the Instagram account of a user in her presence. They deleted all photos which displayed women who did not properly observe the veil. Then they changed the password and email of the account to prevent the user from accessing it. The Cyber Police also replaced the user’s profile photo with their own emblem which read: “Due to publication of photos which counter the religion, this page has been temporarily removed from the access of its administrator.”
Veiled profile photos, a requirement for online classes
The clerical regime does not have any qualms about putting pressure on young girls. They require all female students to put veiled pictures of themselves in the profile of their accounts for online classes.
Simultaneous with the beginning of the new school year, parents of some students declared that they were being harassed. The principals and teachers of some schools pressured parents to change their daughters’ profile photos before they attend online classes. Changing the photos was the main requirement for participating in online classes during the pandemic.
Some parents said they received threats saying the school principal would subtract from their daughters’ grade for discipline.
A journalist tweeted: “They called from school and said since most mothers were members of the WhatsApp account, my profile photo must be with the Hijab!”
Network of state agencies enforcing the Hijab campaigns
The Women’s Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) has already published a pamphlet about the network of 27 state agencies enforcing the mandatory Hijab. This document thoroughly explains the role of each state agency in this vast network.
SSF Commander Hossein Ashtari revealed for the first time in December 2016, that 26 agencies were obliged to enforce the mandatory Hijab.
Then the Supreme Cultural Revolution Council adopted a supplement on September 2019, adding a new agency to the network. The network includes 10 ministries.
In the present volatile state of Iranian society, the regime seeks to ramp up repression through suppression of women. They send their repressive forces to the streets to crack down on women during their Hijab Campaigns.
These suppressive measures, however, will only act as a catalyst expediting the eruption of anti-regime protests. They will lead to uprisings which will eventually overthrow the mullahs’ tyrannical regime.