Insider news & Analysis in Iran

By INU Staff

INU - Large numbers of Iranian women are defying a sexist law, which states that they must wear a hijab while driving, sparking debate within the country about whether the car can be considered a private space where women can dress more freely.

Many Iranian women are driving with their hijab resting upon their shoulders, but if caught they could be arrested for “improper veiling” which could result in a fine, the seizure of their vehicle, corporal punishment or even jail time.

Most Iranian people believe that the car is a private space and should not be subjected to this law, but the police and judiciary disagree.

Saeid Montazeralmahdi, a spokesperson for the Iranian police, said:“What is visible to the public eye is not private space and norms and the rules should be respected within cars.”

However, people shouldn’t get tinted windows in order to prevent themselves being seen from outside the car, according to Montazeralmahdi.

Hadi Sadeghi, the deputy head of Iran’s judiciary chief, said: “The invisible part of the car, such as the trunk, is a private space, but this does not apply to the visible parts of the car.”

So, Iranian women have to ride in the trunk of a car to dress as they wish?

Well, people across Iran have taken to social media to protest his comments with satirical posts, like a photo of a couple embracing in the trunk of a car or lamenting the fact that their hatchback denies them any private space.

Legality

The obligatory hijab laws, brought in by the Iranian Regime in 1979, have been widely opposed by Iranian women and the Regime has often had trouble enforcing the law, particularly in the summer months

Lawyer Hossein Ahmadiniaz said that the Iranian Regime was infringing on their citizen’s human rights and that the government should be the ones defining public/private space, not the police.

He even cited the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s citizen’s rights charter as evidence that the car is considered a private place.

Abolfazl Najafi Tehrani, a cleric based in Tehran, tweeted: “People’s cars, like people’s houses, are their property and a private space and infringing upon this space will disturb people’s moral security and will harm women’s trust with the police.”
While lawyer Bahman Keshavarz explained that wearing your hijab loose is not even a crime under Iranian law.
Yahya Kamalpour, a member of the Iranian parliament, said: “The space within people’s cars is a private space and the police have no right to enter that space without a judicial order.”

Even Rouhani has said that he opposes a crackdown on women who don’t wear the hijab. But before, you paint him as a liberal, moderate figure, please remember that he has allowed nearly 4,000 people to be executed in his first term in office.
Rouhani also has a habit of telling voters what they want to hear, like promising to free certain political prisoners, and then never going through with it. It’s merely a ploy to keep him in power.

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