Iran says actresses without hijab must return wages

Women who do not cooperate will be forced to leave the industry, Guidance Ministry says

Women have been subjected to harsh punishments for refusing to wear the hijab in Iran. EPA
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Iranian actresses who do not wear the hijab will be forced to return their earnings or leave the industry, the government said on Sunday, in the latest measure restricting women's freedoms in the country.

“Actors or agents who break the law before the completion of a film must return the salary they received from that project to compensate producer's losses,” an official from the Ministry of Guidance said in an interview with the Irna state news outlet.

Women will be “forced to co-operate” or leave the industry, said Ruhollah Sohrabi, director general of the ministry's organisation for film production and screening supervision.

Tehran has introduced an array of new rules on women who choose to defy Iran's strict dress code. Women have already been barred from university and handed harsh punishments for refusing to wear the hijab, including prison sentences.

It is not the first time Mr Sohrabi has made comments over the mandatory hijab.

Last month, he said women who appear in public without the hijab are banned from appearing on screen.

Women have come under heightened surveillance in the aftermath of Iran's nationwide protests last autumn, which spread to every province and posed the biggest threat to the regime in decades.

Some 500 people were killed by security forces, and several people were executed for joining the movement, accused of murdering security forces and co-operating with Western powers which Iran says were behind the rallies.

The protests erupted after the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody, who detained her for allegedly wearing her hijab too loosely.

Her death triggered widespread fury against Tehran, which has imposed strict rules on women for decades, including a ban on married women travelling abroad without their husband's consent.

In July, an actress was handed a two-year suspended jail sentence for appearing in public without the hijab.

Afsaneh Bayegan was also banned from leaving the country and must attend weekly therapy sessions for an “anti-family personality.”

She was detained after attending a movie premiere without a hijab.

Women are also banned from singing in public and riding a bicycle.

Despite an increase in morality police patrols, many women continue to venture out in public without the hijab in an act of defiance.

Updated: September 10, 2023, 1:04 PM