Iran Installs Cameras in Public Spaces to Identify and Penalize Women Who Don’t Wear Veils
In an effort to curb the increasing number of women defying Iran’s compulsory dress code, authorities are installing cameras in public places and thoroughfares to identify and penalize those who are unveiled. The police announced this move on Saturday.
After identification, violators will receive “warning text messages as to the consequences.” The police statement said that this move aims to “prevent resistance against the hijab law” as resistance tarnishes the country’s spiritual image and spreads insecurity. This statement was carried by the judiciary’s Mizan news agency and other state media.
Since the death of a 22-year-old Kurdish woman in custody of the morality police last September, an increasing number of Iranian women have been ditching their veils. Mahsa Amini had been detained for violating the hijab rule, and security forces violently put down the revolt. Despite the risk of arrest, women are still widely seen unveiled in malls, restaurants, shops, and streets around the country. Videos of unveiled women resisting the morality police have flooded social media.
The police statement called on business owners to “seriously monitor the observance of societal norms with their diligent inspections.” Under Iran’s Islamic sharia law, imposed after the 1979 revolution, women are required to cover their hair and wear long, loose-fitting clothes to disguise their figures, and violators have faced public rebuke, fines, or arrest.
An Interior Ministry statement on March 30 referred to the veil as “one of the civilizational foundations of the Iranian nation” and “one of the practical principles of the Islamic Republic,” and stated that there would be no retreat on the issue. It urged citizens to confront unveiled women, and such directives have in past decades encouraged hardliners to attack women. Last week, a viral video showed a man throwing yogurt at two unveiled women in a shop.
Iranian police have called on business owners in the country to “seriously monitor the observance of societal norms with their diligent inspections.” This statement comes after a recent Interior Ministry announcement that referred to the veil as “one of the civilizational foundations of the Iranian nation” and “one of the practical principles of the Islamic Republic.” The statement also urged citizens to confront unveiled women, a directive that has in the past encouraged hardliners to attack women.
Under Iran’s Islamic sharia law, women are required to cover their hair and wear long, loose-fitting clothing to disguise their figures. Violators of this law have faced public rebuke, fines, or even arrest. In recent years, there has been a growing movement of women in Iran who are pushing back against these strict dress codes, with many taking to social media to post pictures of themselves without their veils.
This crackdown on unveiled women has sparked outrage among human rights activists, who have long criticized the Iranian government’s strict enforcement of dress codes. Many argue that this policy is a violation of women’s rights and a clear example of the government’s efforts to control every aspect of citizens’ lives.
Last week, a viral video showed a man throwing yogurt at two unveiled women in a shop. The incident has highlighted the dangers faced by women who choose to defy the dress code in Iran. Many fear that this recent directive from the government will only embolden hardliners to take action against women who refuse to comply with the strict dress codes.
It is unclear what actions business owners will take in response to this directive. Some may choose to increase their monitoring of customers’ clothing, while others may choose to ignore the directive altogether. Regardless of their response, it is clear that this statement from the Iranian government is a disturbing reminder of the ongoing struggles faced by women in the country.