Home iran Iranian ‘Reformist’ Women Condemn State’s Hijab Crackdown

Iranian ‘Reformist’ Women Condemn State’s Hijab Crackdown

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After weeks of intensified and renewed crackdown to enforce the mandatory hijab in Iran, ‘reformist’ women activists have condemned it as a smokescreen to distract from the state’s own governing failures.

“The repressive policies against women under the pretext of compulsory hijab are reactionary and an attempt to distract public attention from rampant corruption and inept social administration,” the 21 women activists said in a statement posted on the Telegram channel of the Nationalist-Religious political faction Melli-Mazhabi.

Notable figures among the signatories of the statement include former lawmakers Parvaneh Salahshouri and Elaheh Koulaei.

“Women will not give up on their rightful demands,” the statement read.

Following the death of Mahsa Jina Amini at the hands of the regime’s so-called morality police in 2022 and the months of nationwide protests in Iran it sparked, more women from the “reformist” camp and religious backgrounds have changed direction and joined Iranian protesters in demanding freedom of choice.

It’s significant to note that many Iranian activists have long held the belief that efforts to ‘reform’ the Islamic Republic have proven futile. They often perceive those who still adhere to such views as a faction that continues to sustain the regime’s authority.

Meanwhile, Tahereh Taleghani, the daughter of Mahmoud Taleghani, a prominent cleric and figure during the 1979 Islamic Revolution, published a video on social media emphasizing that treating women under the guise of compulsory hijab has no religious basis.

Islamic scholar Sedigheh Vasmaghi has also demonstrated her support for women’s right to choose by removing her hijab. After her public criticism of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei as a dictator and her condemnation of the compulsory hijab law, she was arrested in March. She was released this week after being imprisoned at Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison, where her health deteriorated drastically. During her detention, she lost her eyesight and experienced life-threatening heart issues.

The new wave of crackdowns resumed after police launched a new initiative, dubbed “Plan Noor” on April 13.

Social media has been flooded with video footage of morality police violence against women rebelling against the hijab since then; there are also allegations of police officers extorting money from women in exchange for leniency, as well as theft and sexual harassment claims.

Additionally, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) announced that it was joining the enforcement efforts, forming units known as “Kindness Ambassadors” (Mehr in Persian) to ensure that women maintain the regime’s strict Islamic dress code.

The situation has once again raised alarm both domestically and internationally, with human rights organizations, student groups, and prominent lawyers condemning the Iranian authorities’ violations of fundamental freedoms.

Despite this, Iranian women continue to flaunt the hijab laws in acts of resistance.

One notable incident occurred at the Beheshti judicial complex in Tehran, in which a woman was arrested for not wearing a hijab. She stated, “I have come here with hijab all my life; this time, I came without a hijab to reclaim my rights.”