Iran Intensifies Crackdown on Women Defying Mandatory Hijab Law

Iran's crackdown on women defying hijab law sparks outrage and protests, as authorities use violence to suppress dissent after Mahsa Amini's death.

Mahnoor Jehangir
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Iran Intensifies Crackdown on Women  Defying Mandatory Hijab Law

Iran Intensifies Crackdown on Women Defying Mandatory Hijab Law

Iranian authorities have launched a new nationwide crackdown on women and girls who defy the country's mandatory hijab law. The campaign, dubbed "Noor" (meaning "light" in Persian), has led to the forceful and violent arrest of women by the notorious Gasht e Irshad morality police.

Verified videos circulating on social media show women and girls being surrounded, insulted, and violently dragged into police vans for not properly covering their hair in public. Dina Ghalibaf, a journalism student, was one of the first to report on the crackdown. She claims she was tasered, handcuffed, and sexually assaulted by the police after tweeting about the arrests.

The intensified enforcement comes after Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared that the hijab is a religious obligation that must be adhered to, regardless of personal acceptance. He directed authorities to step up measures against those deemed to be "religious norm breaking."

Why this matters: The crackdown is part of Iran's ongoing suppression of women's rights and autonomy. It has sparked widespread outrage and protests, with activists calling for the international community to recognize the Iranian regime as a gender apartheid regime.

The Iranian parliament has also passed a new, more stringent hijab and chastity bill, which imposes severe punishments, including up to 10 years in jail, for those deemed to be dressed inappropriately. Tehran police have announced an aggressive ratcheting up of enforcement, even before the Guardian Council has approved the law.

Despite the risks, many Iranian women remain defiant. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Narges Mohammadi, currently imprisoned in Evin Prison, has urged Iranians to protest against the government's "war against women" and expose the authorities' misogynistic actions. Some women have said they will "pay any price" but not go back to life before the 2022 uprising sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini in morality police custody.

The crackdown is the latest effort by Iranian authorities to suppress the widespread dissent that erupted during the 2022 "Woman, Life, Freedom" protests. Amnesty International reports that security forces employed unlawful force and mass arrests to quell the demonstrations, with thousands subjected to arbitrary detention, unjust prosecution, and imprisonment. Torture and ill-treatment of detainees was widespread and systematic.

"The intensification of the hijab enforcement comes in the wake of the death of Mahsa Amini in morality police custody, which ignited a widespread movement against the regime and has been met with further rebellion across Iranian society,"

Key Takeaways

  • Iran launched crackdown on women defying mandatory hijab law, leading to violent arrests.
  • Authorities intensified enforcement after Supreme Leader declared hijab a religious obligation.
  • New hijab and chastity bill imposes severe punishments, including up to 10 years in jail.
  • Crackdown part of Iran's suppression of women's rights, sparking outrage and protests.
  • Violent response to 2022 "Woman, Life, Freedom" protests resulted in 500+ civilian deaths.