June 1, 2023

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Iran installs cameras in public to crack down on women refusing to wear headscarves

An unveiled woman standing on top of a car in Iran last October - AFP
An unveiled woman standing on top of a car in Iran last October – AFP

Cameras are being installed in Iran to catch and punish women walking in public without a headscarf, as the regime in Tehran cracks down on those defying strict dress codes.

The authorities want to rein in an increasing number of women who are defying the rule on mandatory head coverings after the death of a young woman in police custody last year ignited a nationwide anti-government protest movement.

Mahsa Amini was detained by Tehran’s notorious morality police for apparently not wearing her headscarf properly. Her death in September has sparked months of anti-regime protests with women refusing to wear the hijab in solidarity.

The cameras will be installed in public places and thoroughfares to identify and penalise unveiled women, the police announced on Saturday.

After they have been identified, violators will receive “warning text messages as to the consequences”, police said, adding that the move is aimed at “preventing resistance against the hijab law.

A protester holds a sign with a photo of Mahsa Amini - NurPhoto/NurPhoto
A protester holds a sign with a photo of Mahsa Amini – NurPhoto/NurPhoto

The law for women and girls over the age of nine to wear a headscarf in public became compulsory two years after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Under the former president, Hassan Rouhani, rules around their wearing were relaxed. But since the ultraconservative Ebrahim Raisim came to power in 2021, the country’s formidable morality police have taken a harder line against women who flout the rules, demanding a “complete hijab”.

Videos of unveiled women resisting the morality police since Amini’s death have flooded social media. Women have been increasingly seen walking around unveiled in malls, restaurants, shops and streets around the country.

Describing the veil as “one of the civilisational foundations of the Iranian nation” and “one of the practical principles of the Islamic Republic,” an Interior Ministry statement said on March 30 that there would be no retreat on the issue.

Attacks on women

It urged citizens to confront unveiled women, which in the past has emboldened hardliners to attack women.

Last week a video went viral showing a man throwing yoghurt at two unveiled women in a shop.

The incident, in the holy city of Mashad, came as Iran’s judiciary chief threatened to prosecute women who defy the country’s strict rules on head coverings “without mercy”.

In the video, which surfaced as Iranians celebrated Nowruz, or the new year, a mother and daughter can be seen at a shop counter.

A man who noticed that neither was wearing a hijab then enters the shop and confronts them before dumping a large tub of yoghurt over their heads.

Authorities issued arrest warrants for the two women for “committing a forbidden act” by removing their headscarves.

Tens of thousands of people have protested since September, viewing Amini’s death as emblematic of government corruption and civil oppression under the clerical establishment.

Demonstrators have burned their head coverings and shouted anti-government slogans.

The police have responded aggressively, arresting nearly 20,000 people and killing 500, according to the Human Rights Activists News Agency.

Shot in the eye deliberately

One woman recently told the BBC she was shot deliberately in the eye. The PhD student was protesting in a northeastern city near Mashad in September when the bullet struck her and lodged in her head.

“You aimed at my eyes but my heart is still beating,” she said.

“Thank you for taking the sight from my eye which has opened the eyes of so many people.”

In December, Iran’s attorney general, Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, said parliament and the judiciary were looking at whether the law on headscarves needed to be changed.

Original News : https://news.yahoo.com/iran-installs-cameras-public-crack-144725341.html

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