Iran installing cameras to monitor violations of hijab rule

Women seen in public without the mandatory headscarf will receive warning text messages, police say

Iranian women are required to wear headscarves and long coats. EPA
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Authorities in Iran are installing cameras in public places and thoroughfares to identify and penalise women not wearing hijabs, the police announced on Saturday.

A statement said the force would "take action to identify norm-breaking people by using tools and smart cameras in public places and thoroughfares".

Police will then send "the proof and warning messages to the violators of the hijab law" to "inform them about the legal consequences of repeating this crime".

The move is aimed at “preventing resistance against the hijab law” according to a police statement reported by the Iranian judiciary’s Mizan news agency and other state media. It said such resistance tarnishes the country’s spiritual image and spreads insecurity.

"From next Saturday, people who remove their hijab will be identified by using smart equipment," Iran's police chief Ahmad-Reza Radan said in an interview with state television.

"People who remove their hijab in public places will be warned first and presented to the courts as a next step," the police chief said.

He said car owners will also receive a warning text if any of their passengers violate the dress code, and their vehicles will be seized if the offence is repeated.

Businesses will also be required to “seriously monitor the observance of societal norms with their diligent inspections”, according to the police statement.

A growing number of Iranian women have been appearing in public without the mandatory head covering since the death of a 22-year-old Kurdish woman in the custody of the morality police in September. Mahsa Amini had been detained for allegedly violating the hijab rule. Security forces violently put down the revolt.

The head of Iran's judiciary, Chief Justice Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, warned last week that Iranian women who fail to wear the hijab would be "prosecuted without mercy".

Still, risking arrest for defying the obligatory dress code, women are still widely seen without hijabs in malls, restaurants, shops and streets around the country. Videos of women without a headscarf resisting the morality police have flooded social media.

Under Iran's interpretation of Sharia, imposed after the 1979 Islamic revolution that put Shiite clerics in power, women are obliged to cover their hair and wear long, loose-fitting clothes to disguise their figures. Violators have faced public rebuke, fines or arrest.

Describing the hijab 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.

It urged citizens to confront women not wearing a hijab. Such directives previously have emboldened hardliners to attack women. Last week a viral video showed a man throwing yoghurt at two women without headscarves in a shop.

With reporting from agencies

Iranian women condemn yoghurt attack on mother and daughter who were not wearing hijab

Iranian women condemn yoghurt attack on mother and daughter who were not wearing hijab
Updated: April 09, 2023, 6:23 PM