Iran’s Attorney General said that “improper hijab” and “the lack of hijab” were the “red lines” of the regime.
In comments carried by the state-run IRNA news agency, Mohammad Jafar Montazeri described “the promotion of the culture of the lack of hijab was one of the enemy’s conspiracies”.
After the 1979 revolution which brought the clerics to power in Iran, the hijab became mandatory for women and was written into law. Regime officials have since constantly criticized the society for not observing the dress code according to their brand of Islam.
In the past year, Iranian women have protested against the mandatory veil and the violent treatment of women who refused to observe the code. A number of activists were arrested during these protests.
The fact that a senior official calls the non-observance of the hijab the regime’s “red line” indicates the regime’s fear of protests and civil disobedience. The regime fears that the smallest form of protest will loosen its tight grip on society amid recent tensions in the region.
Before this, Mohammad Abdollahpour, the commander of the Gilan Quds Force, announced on June 4 that a new “chapter of promoting virtue and prohibiting vice” had started in the northern province. Abdollahpour said that the 2,000 Basij groups would give verbal notices and would also take action against what they deemed improper in the society, though he did not elaborate.
The regime has also intensified the suppression of women’s rights activists in Iran. Female artists have also been recently banned from playing at concerts and from singing in public.