Friday , 8 December 2023

Iranian Government Considers Harsh New Hijab Laws

Iranwire – Iranian news agencies reported details of the Hijab and Chastity Bill on Thursday amid an intensifying clampdown on violations of the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code for women.

The contentious legislation, consisting of 69 articles, imposes stringent penalties on women who refuse to adhere to the mandatory hijab. Under this bill, women found in violation of mandatory hijab face severe consequences, including imprisonment ranging from five to ten years or substantial fines of up to 36 million tomans ($750).

The legislation also grants enforcement powers to three intelligence agencies – the Ministry of Intelligence, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp Intelligence Organization, and the Police Intelligence Organization.

Additionally, the police command, Basij paramilitary force, and the Headquarters for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice have been tasked with overseeing the implementation of the new law.

Article 49 of the bill outlines the criteria and examples of what constitutes “improper clothing” for men. 

“Improper clothing for men means wearing clothing that is against public modesty, such as clothing that does not cover a part of the body lower than the chest or higher than the ankle or shoulders of a person.”

Article 50 of the bill stipulates that any individual found “naked or semi-naked in public or wearing clothing deemed improper will be promptly arrested and handed over to the judicial authority.”

Moreover, the Hijab and Chastity bill places significant emphasis on gender segregation in various settings, including universities, hospitals, educational and administrative centers, parks, and tourist spots.

“Anyone who insults the principle of hijab in virtual [social media] or real spaces, promotes nudity, indecency, no hijab, or improper clothing, or engages in any behavior that is typically seen as promoting such acts, will be subject to a fourth-degree fine [up to $750] for the first time offense,” article 30 of the law reads. 

“At the discretion of the judicial authority, they may also face a ban on leaving the country and be prohibited from engaging in social media for a period of six months to two years.”

Notably, Article 43 of the bill also targets celebrities who refuse to comply with the hijab requirement. In addition to the primary penalties for their actions, celebrities may face paying a tenth of their wealth as a fine, exclusion from employment or professional activities for a specific period, and bans on international travel and social media activities.

The Hijab and Chastity bill was drafted by Iran’s judiciary and submitted to President Ebrahim Raisi’s government for consideration. 

Following review by the Raisi administration, it was forwarded to the parliament and subsequently referred to the Legal and Judicial Commission for further examination.

In an act of defiance against the ideology and laws of the Islamic Republic, a growing number of women are appearing in public without hijab since nationwide protests erupted in September last year.

Numerous women have been arrested, summoned by the authorities and faced legal cases, while hundreds of small businesses and shopping malls were shut down for purportedly failing to enforce hijab rules on their customers. 

Taxi drivers have been fined for transporting women without headscarves, while police and volunteers have issued warnings in subways, airports and other public places.

Earlier this month, Morality Police patrols returned to the streets of Iranian cities to enforce compulsory veiling. 

Videos shared on social media show women being violently assaulted by officials in Tehran and other cities.