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Iranian Cleric: Enforce Hijab Now Amid Media Spotlight On Israel

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Amidst global media attention on tensions between Israel and Iran, the Supreme Leader’s representative in Gilan province suggests that the state should “seize the opportunity” to enforce the country’s Islamic hijab laws.

Cleric Rasul Falahati, who leads Friday prayers in the northern city of Rasht, directed his criticism towards media outlets run by the Iranian diaspora, emphasizing the need to act.

“The opposing media, which supports society’s current environment of hijab abolition, is now involved in fake Israeli affairs, so we must seize the opportunity and deal with the situation,” Falahati said.

Parallel to Iran’s direct targeting of Israel over the weekend, the police announced their new hijab enforcement initiative, known as the Nour (Light) Plan, in response to what they claim is a “national and public demand.”

Since then, social media has been flooded with videos demonstrating the widespread presence of the so-called morality police and their violent behavior.

While the recent crackdown happened after Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei repeatedly underlined that ignoring the hijab is a red line that should not be crossed, an official close to Khamenei quoted him on Friday, seemingly taking a cautious approach.

Mehdi Fazaeli, deputy chief of the Office for the Preservation and Publication of the Works of the Leader of the Revolution, said the leader had cautioned some officials not to undertake any “irregular and unplanned” actions regarding hijab.

Similarly, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, the head of Iran’s judiciary who had called for stronger implementation of hijab laws in early April, on Friday said: “In the matter of chastity and hijab, one should act wisely. We do not want to punish anyone who ignores the rules on the street.”

Although the signal coming from the regime’s authorities has not always been coherent or consistent, the reality on the street shows that the oppression facing women regarding the hijab law has been stepped up massively.

The morality police had largely disappeared from the streets following the death of Mahsa Jina Amini, 22, in their custody, which sparked widespread and months-long protests across the country.

Several women arrested by the morality police during the latest crackdown since the weekend have told Iran International of severe physical violence as well as sexual verbal abuse.

Women’s rights activists have voiced their concern over the regime’s increased clampdown on hijab laws, which has gained momentum since Saturday.