Tehran, Iran – In a recent development, Iranian authorities have declared the reinstatement of patrols aimed at enforcing a stringent dress code that mandates women to cover their hair in public. On Sunday, marked vans with male and female morality police officers were observed patrolling the streets of Tehran.
According to the official news agency IRNA, police spokesperson Saeed Montazer Almehdi stated, “The police will launch car and foot patrols to warn, take legal measures, and refer to the judiciary those who disobey police orders and disregard consequences of dressing against the norms,” as reported by DW.
This announcement comes precisely ten months after the tragic death of Jina Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd who was arrested for violating the Islamic dress code and subsequently lost her life while in police custody.
The untimely demise of Mahsa Amini sparked nationwide protests, which were met with forceful suppression. During the violent crackdown, over 500 demonstrators lost their lives, and nearly 20,000 individuals were arrested.
Symbolic Act of Protest
Despite the quelling of the protest movement, many women continued to deliberately defy the mandatory headscarf requirement as a silent act of protest.
Notably, the presence of morality police had noticeably diminished on the streets of Iranian cities, and there were even reports suggesting the disbandment of these patrols. However, authorities have consistently maintained that the dress code remains unchanged.
To ensure compliance with the regulations, alternative measures were implemented, such as the closure of businesses where employees failed to adhere to the rules, as well as the installation of surveillance cameras in public areas to identify and apprehend violators.
Preserving the Legacy of the Islamic Revolution
Iran’s religious leaders staunchly uphold the dress code, viewing the hijab as an integral symbol of the Islamic revolution that brought them to power.
The dress code has been in effect in Iran since 1979, and those who violate it can face fines or prison terms of up to two months.
However, in response to mounting demands for change, authorities proposed the “Support for the Culture of Hijab and Chastity” bill in May. This legislation seeks to impose higher fines on “any person who removes their veil in public places or on the internet” but refrains from the threat of imprisonment.
The reintroduction of morality police patrols underscores the Iranian government’s firm commitment to upholding the dress code and preserving the cultural values it represents. As the nation grapples with evolving societal dynamics and demands for reform, the dress code issue continues to be a focal point of contention and debate among Iranian citizens and authorities alike.