Mandatory hijab law was one of the main points of contention behind last year’s massive protests in Iran
The Iranian authorities will install cameras in public places to identify and “penalize” women who violate the national law on compulsory hijab, the national police announced on Saturday. This measure aims to replace the morality police, dissolved last year following massive demonstrations sparked by the death in police custody of a young woman, Mahsa Amini.
A “innovative measure” is designed for “prevent any tension” within Iranian society, according to the police statement. Several news outlets, including Reuters and Anadolu Agency, reported that many Iranian women were still defying hijab requirements even after the end of massive protests that rocked the nation last year. Such a situation would have triggered a protest among the Iranian clergy.
Those found in violation of the law, which was passed shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, would first receive “Warning SMS” of the police on their mobile phone informing them of the legal consequences of a repeat offence.
A police statement released by Iran’s Mizan Justice News Agency also charged those who violate the law with “negligently distorting the moral image of society” and called them to “to avoid any type of action that tarnishes the spiritual image of the nation and causes insecurity.”
On Tuesday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the hijab was a “religious and legal restriction” and not just something imposed by the government. He also maintained that removing the Islamic head covering was “forbidden.” Similar remarks were made by the government in a statement this week.
Iran faced massive protests last year, which erupted in September 2022 after Amini, detained by so-called vice police for wearing a “improper” hijab, collapsed and died in custody. A medical examination attributed her death to a pre-existing condition, while various anti-government NGOs and some US-backed groups claimed she had been beaten to death by police.
The protests turned into weeks of violent unrest that claimed hundreds of lives. Tehran has accused outside forces, including the United States and Israel, of fomenting unrest and inciting violence. In December, Iran abolished the morality police. Last month, Khamenei also pardoned tens of thousands of protesters as part of a massive amnesty marking the anniversary of the Islamic revolution.
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