Monthly July 2022 – Vice patrols savagely brutalize Iranian women
Women savagely brutalized by vice patrols in clampdown to enforce the compulsory Hijab
Iranian women are savagely brutalized by vice patrols in their clampdown to enforce the compulsory Hijab.
The hallmarks of Ebrahim Raisi’s presidency have been a spree of executions and the brutal suppression of women. In the last week of July, the Iranian Judiciary executed 25 people, including four women. The regime has executed at least 521 persons, including 22 women, since Raisi took office last year on August 3, 2021.
On July 5, Raisi ordered the re-implementation of a plan called “Strategies to spread the culture of chastity,” adopted in 2005 by the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution to enforce the compulsory veil. So, the clampdown on women took an unprecedented height in early July, affecting all areas of the life of Iran’s freedom-loving women.
Two IRGC bases had already started their work in May to monitor and impose more restrictions on women at work and in public. (The state radio and television website, IRIB, May 22, 2022)
More recently, on July 27, Ali Khamenei held a meeting with Friday prayer leaders when he emphasized the issue of compulsory Hijab. He said women should wear Islamic hijab and chador (head-to-toe veil) in various scientific, social, political, administrative, economic, and cultural fields. While acknowledging Iranian women’s defiance of such increasing repression and pressure in the streets, he revealed that state institutions were constantly confronting and dealing with women’s resistance.
In addition to all the tangible (visible) and intangible (undercover) patrols, the clerical regime has recruited business owners, employers, and executive managers. The regime has threatened to shut down their businesses or fire them from their jobs if their female employees do not observe the mandatory dress code. They have therefore deployed a new lever against innocent Iranian women.
The Iranian regime’s leaders have also called for depriving the so-called ”improperly veiled women” of receiving administrative, bank, and medical services. In some cities, women who do not observe the mandatory Hijab are deprived of entering metro stations and airports.
Even in the days when the flood had washed away people’s homes, Raisi met with his vice patrols, describing their job as a divine duty instead of focusing on providing relief to the flood victims. He encouraged the various vice patrols to ramp up their repression of women.
Such measures are taken while economic pressure, hunger, and inaction of the regime in the face of natural disasters have enhanced Iranian society’s explosive conditions. People see this plan as a tool to divert their attention from the exponential and unprecedented daily increase in inflation and prices and to prevent public protests.
A remarkable increase in the number of vice patrols
After the establishment of chastity and hijab bases, repressive actions against women increased in the streets. People report that the cases of insulting and harassing women for flouting the mandatory Hijab by vice patrols have increased significantly in all major cities of Iran.
The semi-official Hamshahri newspaper wrote that at least 15 million and at most 20 million women should receive verbal warnings. These figures mean that the regime’s so-called guidance patrols target 60 to 80 percent of women living in the cities. (The state-run eghtesadnews.com, July 27, 2022)
Invisible patrols have been deployed throughout the city of Mashhad to suppress and harass women for failing to observe the compulsory Hijab. The announcement was made by Mehdi Rezaeii, secretary of the staff in charge of Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil in Khorassan Razavi province. (The state-run ISNA.ir – July 2, 2022)
In a news briefing, the Commander of the State Security Force of Kermanshah (western Iran) declared that the SSF had summoned 1,700 women to their centers since March 2022.
Ali Akbar Javidan said more than 22,000 public notices had been given concerning moral security, failing to observe the mandatory Hijab, improper veiling, or falling back on the regime’s dress code in three months and 20 days. Furthermore, 230 vehicles were seized and sent to the parking lot in the province during the same period.
He also pointed out numerous public sites have been under surveillance since October. These sites include leisure, historical, tourism, commercial, civic service centers, travel agencies, and tourist tours. Javidan said, “The police will not allow for a few people to promote improper veiling with any sort of excuse or pretext.” (The state-run tabnak.ir – July 12, 2022)
In the final days of July, the vice patrols in Tehran committed an inhuman and immoral act. They took away a young woman in their van while her mother was sobbing and crying, “My daughter is ill!” She tried to stop the van by standing in front of it. The SSF agents, however, did not heed her cries and drove away with the young woman inside. The video clip of this incident outraged the Iranian public opinion.
Vice patrols savagely brutalize Iranian women
The vice patrols’ treatment of Iran’s freedom-loving women has been so harsh and inhumane that even the regime officials were forced to speak up.
Mullah Nasser Qavami, the head of the Judicial Commission of the 6th Parliament, spoke out about the brutality of the vice patrols. He said, “The actions of the officers of the guidance patrols towards women are in no way in line with Islamic standards. You journalists have observed that vice patrol agents violate women’s privacy by touching their bodies to arrest them. Some of these police officers, who are women themselves, I don’t understand how they can pull the hair of a member of the same sex and beat them! I don’t know if this behavior of vice patrol agents is due to opportunism or to earn a bite of bread, but it has no justification! I saw a female officer who forcibly twisted a woman’s hair in her hands.
On the other hand, male officers touched the woman’s body and beat and shoved her into the patrol van! All the officials’ approaches to women’s Hijab are political. Do not think even one percent that their problem is the people’s religion and faith!” (The state-run Bahar website – July 13, 2022)
The state-run newspaper Ressalat also acknowledged, “The guidance patrols not only did not protect the Hijab but also spread the seeds of spite and hatred among various sectors of society.” (The semi-official Ressalat newspaper – June 14, 2022)
On July 7, 2022, Mohsen Pirhadi, a member of the mullahs’ parliament, revealed more details on the savagery of vice patrols in a letter to Hossein Ashtari, the General Commander of the State Security Force. He wrote, “Sometimes the guidance patrol officers’ manners are inappropriate when dealing with women with inadequate Hijab. The use of indecent literature, humiliation, and improper treatment by some female officers in the detention centers and sometimes while arresting women, such as pushing, are among cases of concern.”
Improperly veiled women banned from entering metro stations in Mashhad
In the final days of June, Esmael Rahmani, the caretaker of the Prosecutor’s Office of Mashhad, in a letter to the city’s governorate and municipality, urged them to prevent the entry of improperly veiled women to metro stations.
He threatened state agents and said the failure of Metro officers to report these incidents is considered “abandoning their duty.” He gave them a deadline of July 6 to implement the directive, “otherwise, the agents abandoning their duty will be legally dealt with.” (The semi-official donya-e-eqtesad.com, July 6, 2022) In this way, he acknowledged that even the state agents are reluctant to implement their directives.
The mayor of Mashhad called the order illegal. Still, he issued an order to implement it due to the insistence of the judicial authority. (The state-run tabnak.ir – July 5, 2022)
Mashhad city council member Hashem Daemi said about the letter from the prosecutor’s office, “The municipality and officers have to take action as soon as they see instances of improper veiling and women appearing in public without the religious Hijab.” (The state-run hamshahrionline.ir – July 5, 2022)
A member of Mashhad’s City Council, citing the mayor, said, “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)
Banning entry of improperly veiled women to Shiraz airport
On July 25, 2022, the Director General of Fars Province Airports said that improperly veiled women do not have the right to enter Shiraz Airport and its flight terminals. These women passengers will be prevented from entering.
It should be noted that Shiraz Airport is internationally active and the third busiest airport in Iran, giving services to 10,000 passengers every day. The airport has 2,000 employees working in different departments. The instructions on the observance of “chastity and Hijab” are implemented in this airport.
Depriving women from banking and administrative services for flouting the veil
Esmael Rahmani, Mashhad’s deputy prosecutor, sent a letter to Mashhad’s governor asking him to refrain from providing services to women with inadequate Hijab at “offices and banks.” (The state-run entekhab.ir – July 4, 2022).
Mehdi Rezaei, the Secretary of Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil Headquarters in Khorasan Razavi Province, also announced that in two weeks, 108 visible teams of three per team have visited 760 locations in Mashhad and reported nearly 35 cases of “violation.”
According to Rezaei, plainclothes patrols throughout Mashhad are also cracking down on and harassing women in Iran under the pretext of improper Hijab (The state-run ISNA news agency – July 2, 2022).
On July 5, 2022, the Governor of Fars province reiterated their operatives’ right to “fire at will” in the face of public dissatisfaction with the Hijab and Chastity law. The governor urged managers to earnestly and bravely use “young forces” rather than waiting for commands.
He also warned women, “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)
Zahra Yaqtin, Director General of Women and Family Affairs in Fars Governorate, also announced, “We are trying to promote and emphasize the culture of Hijab by setting up workshops in offices and organizations.” (The state-run entekhab.ir – July 25, 2022)
Government offices have been notified of their employees’ code of clothing and covering. The directive bans even the use of perfumes and colognes with solid scents.
Managers of these offices and the undercover patrols check things such as “tightness or looseness of clothes, size of clothes, high-heeled shoes, nail polish, and women’s make-up.”
Accordingly, the secretary and manager of men’s offices must only be men and for women only women. At the same time, men and women are not allowed to publish photos “without Islamic cover” in cyberspace.
Sealing off hairdressers and cafés
The head of the Public Places Supervision Department announced that 14 hairdresser salons had been sealed in the Central Province. The closure was due to unconventional advertisements and the publishing of customers’ pictures on social networks. The owners and operators of these centers were also reported to the judicial authorities. (The state-run Rokna.ir – July 26, 2022)
Previously, on July 14, 2022, twenty-nine hairdressing salons in Yasuj were closed due to the violation of norms. The Public Places police sealed all these centers and summoned their owners. (The official IRNA news agency – July 14, 2022)
Yasuj is the capital of Kohgiluyeh and Boyer Ahmad province in southwestern Iran.
The Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor of Yasuj said, “Women’s hairdresser salons publish vulgar pictures and videos in cyberspace and sometimes publish personal photos of their customers without permission.”
Sales clerks in Qom were instructed to refuse services and goods to women who are improperly veiled. According to the same directive, the female clerks who are inadequately veiled would also be dealt with, i.e., they are not allowed to wear short coats. (The state-run entekhab.ir – July 22, 2022)
Also, in Shiraz, about 20 busy cafés, which were the places where Shiraz youths hang out, were sealed by order of the Shiraz Department of Public Places. (The state-run Setareh Sobh newspaper – July 2, 2022)
Sports activities on Kish Island beach considered a crime
The Iranian regime announced it would deal with mixed-gender group sports activities seen on beaches in Kish Island, off the southern coast of Iran, in the Persian Gulf.
The police will deal with individuals who gather on the shores after sunrise in mixed-gender groups under the pretext of sports activities. The SSF Commander in Kish, Ali Asghar Jamali, said the measure was part of a project called “thunder.”
Jamali reiterated that since June 22, more than eight unauthorized photography teams had been identified on the beach through the Thunder plan, and their beach decoration was rounded up. Jamali added, “The police will deal with violators according to the law!”
More than 21 cars and electric motorbikes spotted with unveiled drivers and passengers have been seized according to the same plan. (The state-run aftabnews.ir – July 8, 2022)
Breaking women’s tombstones
The regime’s repressive measures to impose the compulsory Hijab reached the cemeteries and targeted the image of women without Hijab on their tombstones.
The CEO of Tehran’s largest cemetery announced that they had collected 98 tombstones, which featured photos of the deceased without the compulsory Hijab.
According to Saeed Ghazanfari, CEO of Behesht Zahra Organization, such tombstones are “not worthy of the grave of the believers.” He announced that this procedure would continue in the future according to the “religious views of scholars.”
Ghazanfari also threatened stone sellers or installers that they would not be allowed to operate if they sold or installed such stones. (The state-run Fars news agency – July 25, 2022)
Prohibition of using photos without a Hijab in women’s profiles
According to the plan to control Hijab and chastity, it is forbidden for female users to post profile photos without Hijab, the Staff of Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil in Khorasan Razavi Province announced. (The state-run Rokna.ir – July 5, 2022)
The staff has seriously started its work in Mashhad as one of the supervisory institutions.
Banning women’s participation in all advertisements
The Iranian Ministry of Guidance has ordered all advertising centers that they could no longer enlist women for advertisements.
The head of the General Department of Guidance sent a letter dated July 20, 2022, to the art and cinema schools in Alborz Province. According to the Hijab and Chastity Plan, women’s presence in advertisements is prohibited.
The order was issued following the publication of the advertising teaser of Domino’s ice cream company in mid-July. The Staff of Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil called it a “crime,” saying producing such advertisements would lead to the “promotion of immorality” in society. (The state-run sharghdaily.com – July 23, 2022)
Removal of a female referee from the World Cup list
Mahsa Ghorbani, the Iranian female international referee, was excluded from the 2023 World Cup. Her displacement was because of the publication of her photos in a football referee uniform, where her legs are visible. (The state-run khabaronline.ir – July 26, 2022)
Disabled girls are not spared from mandatory Hijab
An NGO supporting the rights of disabled people published a post in which it wrote about the hardships faced by women with disabilities. The post read, “The mandatory Hijab law does not make an exception for people with disabilities. For example, according to the law, all children, both disabled and non-disabled, must wear the Hijab from the moment they enter school. The mandatory Hijab law is the same for exceptional schools.
“Police officers and vice patrols lack training in dealing with people with disabilities, especially autistic people. As a result, they do not understand their special needs. Unfortunately, the agents mistreat these people and their families,” a female activist defending the rights of people with disabilities said.
This issue has caused many autistic children with severe tactile sensitivities who cannot tolerate a cover on their heads to stop going to school. The girls’ families are forced to cut their children’s hair and dress them in boys’ clothes to take them to medical and recreational centers. Unfortunately, such solutions cannot last long. As the child grows up, hiding her gender becomes impossible, and they will be imprisoned at home forever.
An existential threat to the regime
Almost a year after Ebrahim Raisi took office as the regime’s president, his only achievement has been the enforcement of the Hijab and Chastity Law against women. Notwithstanding the increase in the wave of executions and the suppression of political prisoners, protesters, and social opponents. Meanwhile, poverty, economic bankruptcy, unemployment, homelessness, and social problems are rampant.
The suppression of women went so far as to extract forced confessions from opponents of the compulsory Hijab and broadcast them on state TV. It proves that the fate of the mullahs’ regime is tied to women’s freedoms that pose an existential threat to the clerical regime.
The regime significantly increased the suppression of women under the pretext of Hijab to stifle the entire society and prevent social protests.
However, these repressive measures only fuel the people’s anger and discontent. Iranian women are at the forefront of protests and uprisings. By forming resistance units and participating in their activities, they play a valuable role in the uprisings to overthrow the mullahs’ regime.
Iranian women and youth will undoubtedly overthrow the clerical regime.