The Iranian government’s most prevalent form of violence against women is the mandatory hijab. In this respect, 100 percent of women forced to veil themselves every time they step out of their homes or face arrests or attacks by the State Security Force (SSF). Furthermore, there are 27 agencies in Iran charged with enforcing hijab.
SSF Commander Hossein Ashtari has actually bragged that 2,000 women are arrested every day for making their own decisions about what to wear, which would be bad enough. “But the small amount of eyewitness footage that we have of these arrests shows extreme violence,” Ashtari said.
Female Iranian MP Parvaneh Salahshouri once told a parliamentary session about the “undesirable psychological consequences” that women and girls are left with because of these attacks, which then lead to other ailments.
The punishment for failing to abide by the hijab is up to two months in prison or a 500,000 rial fine. The government applies these sentences to girls as young as nine. Also, those who encourage others to flout the sexist law can be sentenced to ten years in prison.
Sadly, the reality is that many punishments are often harsher, with Saba Kord Afshari sentenced to 24 years in prison for removing her veil. Women who are “improperly veiled” can also be denied an education or social services
The punishments are not solely doled out to those who choose not to wear the hijab at all. Although it would be bad enough, but also those who wear it too far back, exposing their hair, or even those who have a hair out of scarves.
So where does the money for the multiple task forces dedicated to women’s clothing come from? Has poverty in Iran been eliminated? Have all citizens been vaccinated against coronavirus? The answer is, unsurprisingly, no.
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This money, stolen from the Iranian people, is not being used to cushion the blow of the pandemic by paying unessential workers to stay home or paying health workers full stop. It is being used to monitor the clothing of women in public, at work, in shops, in cars, online, and even in the hospital to ensure that they meet the clerics’ strict standards.
Meanwhile, 166,000 people have died from coronavirus and not one person died from seeing a woman in jeans and a t-shirt with nothing covering her hair.
It’s important to note that 70 percent of women oppose the compulsory head-to-toe black veil (Chador) and only observe it to avoid violence. According to a 2018 report by the research center of the Parliament (Majlis), the true number was much higher.
Former chief editor of Keyhan daily newspaper Mehdi Nassiri said that “support for the hijab goes down 5 percent each year, despite the government’s efforts.”
Therefore, why is this issue as much as important to the authorities? Simply because they know that women are ready to overthrow the religious dictatorship. In this regard, they see women’s repression as a solution to stop further protests. However, it will not work as the experience has proven so far. Women will rise and continue resistance.