From Yogurt Buckets to Flogging: Iran mullahs’ Coordinated Efforts to Enforce the Hijab
In recent months, the Iranian regime has intensified its campaign to impose the compulsory veil on women. There’s been a coordinated effort by various government officials and agencies to promote the hijab as a legal requirement and label its removal as a threat to national security.
The mullahs intensified their measures against opponents of the mandatory hijab in March.
Businesses that served opponents of the hijab were shut down during the Nowruz holidays, and security personnel prevented access to airports and historical sites.
The regime has even gone as far as urging business owners and department heads to deny services to those who do not comply with the hijab law, while branding anyone who opposes it as a criminal.
By the end of March, the regime’s parliament had finalized its plan to address the issue of women’s hijab, and the Ministry of Interior issued an instruction requiring all women to observe the compulsory veil.
Various ministries and authorities subsequently announced measures to prevent women from accessing services or entering public places without covering their hair. Office employees have also been required to follow the Hijab even outside of the workplace.
As schools and universities reopened after the Nowruz holidays, the Ministry of Science, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Health announced that they would not provide educational services to students who do not comply with the hijab regulations.
On April 1st, Ebrahim Raisi, the mullahs’ president, emphasized the legal obligation to obey the law, even if one does not believe in the hijab.
The head of Judiciary also announced that individuals who fail to wear the Hijab will be prosecuted without leniency, as removing the hijab is considered an act of enmity towards the state and its values.
Various members of parliament have called for strict punishments with executive guarantees for those who do not comply with the law, saying that, “Removing the veil is a complex plan designed by enemies to destabilize the country and disrupt social order.”
Khamenei’s representatives have also devoted parts of their Friday prayer sermons to the issue of hijab, calling for the public’s participation in confronting violators of the compulsory veil. This gives plainclothes agents, acting under the title of “people,” a free hand to attack women anywhere, without being held accountable for their actions.
Women who refuse to wear the mandatory hijab face flogging and arrest. A nurse from Qom was sentenced to 148 lashes, eight months in prison, and a two-year dismissal from government and public services for not observing the mandatory hijab.
In another incident, a video from CCTV cameras at a dairy store in Shandiz city of Mashhad was published on social networks on March 31. The footage showed a plainclothes agent emptying a bucket of yogurt on the heads of two women who had entered the store for shopping but were not covering their hair.
The prosecutor’s office issued warrants for the arrest of both the assailant and the mother and daughter who had been assailed, for committing the unlawful act of removing their Hijab.
The regime’s crackdown on women who oppose the compulsory veil comes at a time when many Iranians are struggling to access basic necessities, and the government has failed to pay teachers’ salaries. The disproportionate fines imposed for violating the Hijab law and the lack of effective measures to stop chemical attacks on girls’ schools highlight the regime’s priorities and its misogynistic nature.
Iranian women have defied the regime’s coercion in various ways over the past 44 years and understand that women’s rights can only be achieved by overthrowing the mullahs’ inhuman regime.
It is clear that Iranian women will continue to defy the regime’s attempts to suppress their rights and will turn the “alternative punishment” plan against the regime.