Women in Iran will have to pay a fine of $60,000 in defiance of the country’s hijab mandate after a new law to enforce strict dress codes is passed by the parliament.
Iranian lawmaker and member of the Cultural Commission of the Iranian parliament, Hojjat ol-Eslam Hossein Jalali, said that punishments for defying the laws include revocation of driver’s licenses and passports or a ban on the use of the internet for celebrities and social media influencers and bloggers alongside the cash fine. The plan, Jalali said, was finalised after “300 meetings with the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution and the National Security Council”.
Jalali explained in December 2022 that there would be no moving away from enforcement of the hijab and chastity laws, just that imposition methods would become less violent and intrusive. ‘Moving away from the hijab means a retreat of the Islamic republic,’ Jalali added.
The penalties will apply to women caught flouting the mandatory hijab rule in public spaces like restaurants, government offices, schools and universities.
Hardline law and policymakers have been looking at alternative ways of enforcing once brutal hijab enforcement rules following the failure of their ‘morality police’ method of cracking down on lawbreakers.
This comes amidst the backdrop of Iran continuing to be rocked by protests triggered by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested for allegedly not wearing her headscarf properly; several women have given up their hijabs to defy the rules set by the Islamic Republic.
Last year, the Government responded to almost three months of unrest with deadly force as it attempted to suppress one of the deepest challenges to the Islamic regime since the revolution in 1979. Yet, they failed to comprehend the sentiments and intentions of the public and repeated the same old mistakes by being opaque and snatching away all the choices.
Several orthodox members have made remarks which show how lost this cause is, with no reasonable logic to go ahead with the hijab mandate. This showcases their unjust power and irrational religious supremacy over the public.
An Iranian cleric recently stated, “People and social service providers should stop giving services to people without hijab; People should give women with improper hijab warnings and not be indifferent. Otherwise, they will come to the street naked in the summer.”
Mohammed-Mehdi Hosseini Hamedani, a close aide of Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei, said that by breaking the mandatory rule of wearing a hijab, women in the Islamic Republic have “caused a lack of precipitation across the country.” They have lost all the arguments, so now they turned to superstitions to justify their claims.
Some proponents have made incredible statements and compared the defiance against the hijab law with COVID.
Member of the Assembly of Experts, Mohsen Araki, said that the Islamic Republic “will not allow improper hijab to spread in the Islamic society” and that it is a “new COVID” trying to ruin the society. “The goal of the enemies is to destroy the independence of Iranian women because a woman without hijab will not be independent and free and will be a person who is bound by others’ lust,” he added.
In the past, detainees were usually released after paying rather smaller cash fines but could also face prison and lashes if they had a previous record. Activism against the compulsory hijab could now bear serious consequences, including prosecution and imprisonment.
The morality police have largely disappeared from the streets since Amini’s death in September and the resulting protests as authorities feared enraging people.
Meanwhile, several women said on social media that they would only return to dressing according to the Government mandated dress code.
The Government should submit the plan to the parliament in the form of a bill within the next couple of weeks, Jalali said of the envisaged plan, which has been “brought to the attention of” the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the Judiciary, implying their agreement with the new project had been obtained.