Every day in Iran, women and girls are confronted and detained on the streets by the regime’s “Guidance Patrols” for not observing the mandatory hijab. These confrontations have increased following the installment of the regime’s President Ebrahim Raisi by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and in recent days with warmer weather, reports coming from Iran and on social media platforms show an increased amount of pressure on women.
Raisi’s support of the mandatory hijab
In a recent speech, Ebrahim Raisi said the promotion of what he called “corruption in the Islamic Society” was organized by Iran’s “enemies”. He then ordered the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution to implement the 2004 resolution on chastity and hijab. This order was issued despite the increase in protests and opposition against the mandatory hijab.
Regime officials endorse mandatory hijab implementation
During his Friday Prayers sermon, a senior Iranian Shia cleric, who is also a member of the Guardian Council and a senior member of the Assembly of Experts insulted Iranian women who have defied the regime’s mandatory hijab laws.
“When we talk about the hijab, they say don’t fuss about four strands of hair, you should fuss about embezzlement and corruption. We have dealt with (corruption and embezzlement) and the judiciary is also doing its job. Stealing, embezzling, and not donning the hijab are all sins, and by the way, many of the people who don’t wear the hijab are the wives and children of the same thieves,” he said in remarks that angered Iranians.
“Hijab is not a secondary but a major issue. Confronting women with improper hijab must be done legally. Hijab is law. Let me say this, the term, mandatory hijab, is a wrong phrase aimed at questioning the hijab itself. Removing the hijab deals a blow to the society’s psychological safety,” he added.
In another oppressive measure, Bank Mellat has issued a directive for how its female and male employee should dress. In this circular, it is stated that “thin socks, high and loud heels, make-up and unconventional accessories are prohibited for women.” Women must don a headdress that covers not only their hair but has to be large enough to cover their chest as well. As for men, they must wear a suit and are banned from using gold or any kind of jewelry.
In another instance, officials announced that they would deal with mixed-gender group sports activities seen on beaches in Kish Island, a popular tourist attraction off the southern coast of Iran. They announced that police would deal with individuals who gather on the shores after sunrise in mixed-gender groups “under the pretext of sports activities”.
According to another report by the state-run ISNA News Agency, a new plan dubbed the 21 Tir Base will monitor what it called “chastity” in the northeastern city of Mashhad. According to the plan, this entails “chastity in how one looks (at other people), chastity in speech, movement, socializing, and in attire”. The new plan will make sure that women’s hijab adheres to the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code including the specifics of her “chador, veil, manteau, pants, socks, shoes and the color of her attire”. Men are banned from wearing “ties, bow ties, and other western symbols, t-shirts, tight and short shirts, body-hugging and patched clothes, gold and other Jewelry, and ripped jeans” among other things.
This plan also bans men and women from using “unauthorized and non-Islamic photos” in their profile pictures. Women must not be hired to work in places used explicitly by men and vice versa while male and female managers must employ secretaries or office managers with the same gender as themselves.
According to Mehdi Rezaei, the secretary of Khorasan Razavi’s Department of Enjoining Good and Forbidding Wrong, “108 three-person teams” in the form of “undercover patrols” will check and monitor “health clinics, pharmacies, offices, organizations, and banks” during office hours in various places in Mashhad. If the regime’s criteria for moral behavior “is not observed by the staff or others” the patrols record the incidents and “send it in the form of a confidential letter to the head of the department”.
Expansion of hijab patrols
The regime has increased the number of its Guidance Patrols also called morality police across Iran’s larger cities. The agents make rounds on the streets to confront and warn women that have “un-Islamic” attire. Amatuer footage indicates that the patrols are equipped or accompanied by special vans. They often push women into these vehicles and arrest them.
However, the regime does not seem to have had much success and in recent months, there have been many incidents showing women resisting the morality police who use force to push them into their patrol vans.
However, the regime’s treatment of women in enforcing the mandatory hijab has made Iranians even more defiant. Many social media videos show women fighting back against those who tell them to don their hijab properly.