Tehran, Iran (TEH) – In an unprecedented show of hardline Islamic conservatism, the Iranian authorities have closed down one of the offices of Digikala, Iran’s biggest e-commerce company, and launched a legal investigation. The reason, an ostensibly innocent act, turned controversial – the company released photographs of its female employees sans Islamic hijab, a move deemed in violation of Iran’s religiously imposed dress code, reports the Associated Press.
The event symbolizes an intensification of moral policing in Iran, an aspect of its society that has long stirred international controversy and internal dissent. Last week, a new campaign was initiated to strictly enforce the Islamic dress code, a move that observers say is increasingly making life difficult for Iranian women.
Digikala, often referred to as Iran’s equivalent of Amazon, published photos of a corporate gathering where numerous female workers were noticeably not wearing the obligatory hijab. These images, shared widely online, were swiftly perceived as a breach of the country’s stringent religious guidelines.
The news about Digikala’s office closure was disclosed late Sunday by an Iranian newspaper’s website, while the country’s judiciary website reported the commencement of legal proceedings in relation to the controversial photographs.
The clampdown on Digikala comes amid a backdrop of heightened unrest surrounding the hijab law in Iran. Protests erupted last year following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died in police custody, sparking a fierce nationwide movement against the forced wearing of the hijab. The demonstrations claimed multiple lives and added fuel to the fire of the longstanding debate over the obligatory head covering.
In response to this tension, morality police have been redeployed on the streets of Iran, leading a rigorous enforcement of the hijab requirement. Women found without hijab are reported to be detained and transported to jail in patrol cars. The Islamic government, showing no sign of relenting, has unequivocally stated that the rules of the hijab must be followed.
This incident reflects an ongoing struggle in Iran over issues of personal freedom and religious mandate, creating a cultural tension that continues to shape the country’s political and social landscapes. The question remains as to how these contentious forces will reconcile, as Iran navigates the balance between its religious traditions and a society ever more connected to global norms.