Iranian Authorities Launch New Campaign to Enforce Islamic Headscarf: Morality Police Resume Street Patrols, Sparking Protests

Iranian Authorities Launch New Campaign to Enforce Hijab Law

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Iranian authorities have recently announced the renewal of their efforts to enforce the mandatory wearing of the Islamic headscarf for women, commonly known as the hijab. The move comes as the morality police return to the streets following the death of a woman, Mahsa Amini, in their custody last year, which ignited nationwide protests.

In an attempt to contain the mass demonstrations demanding the overthrow of the country’s theocratic rule, the authorities had previously scaled back the deployment of the morality police. However, reports indicated that many women in the capital city of Tehran and other urban centers continued to defy the official dress code. Despite rumors suggesting the disbandment of the morality police in December, authorities insisted that the rules had not changed.

The ruling clerics in Iran consider the hijab to be a crucial symbol of the Islamic revolution that brought them to power, while viewing more casual attire as a manifestation of Western decadence. Police spokesman Gen. Saeed Montazerolmahdi confirmed on Sunday that the morality police would resume their practice of warning and detaining women found not wearing the hijab in public. This announcement was followed by the visible presence of the morality police patrolling the streets in marked vans.

Meanwhile, the recent arrest of young actor Mohammed Sadeghi has attracted attention. Sadeghi broadcasted a raid on his home, which was reportedly conducted by the police; he was apprehended on charges of promoting violence against law enforcement personnel in response to a video showing a woman being detained by the morality police. The semi-official Hamshahri daily, affiliated with the Tehran municipality, reported that Sadeghi was arrested for encouraging the use of weapons against the police.

The battle over the hijab became a rallying cry during last year’s protests, with women playing a prominent role. What started as demonstrations against the mandatory dress code soon evolved into a wider movement calling for the overthrow of Iran’s ruling clerics, whom the mostly young protesters accuse of corruption, repression, and being disconnected from the population. The government, on the other hand, dismisses the protests as a foreign conspiracy without providing any substantial evidence.

Throughout the wave of protests, several Iranian celebrities, including well-known directors and actors from the country’s renowned film industry, lent their support to the cause. As a consequence, numerous actresses were detained for appearing in public without the hijab or expressing solidarity with the protests. In one recent case, actress Azadeh Samadi was banned from social media and ordered by a court to undergo psychological treatment for what was described as “antisocial personality disorder” after she attended a funeral wearing a cap on her head.

These developments have reignited the ongoing debate surrounding women’s rights and freedom of expression in Iran, as well as the balance between traditional Islamic values and Western influence. As the campaign to enforce the hijab continues, it remains to be seen whether it will quell dissent or spark further resistance among the population.