by Mahmood Hakamian
Last week, we featured a piece on gender equality and how it is imperative to the Iranian Resistance movement. In that piece, we outlined ten areas that Maryam Rajavi and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) would tackle in order to make gender equality a reality in a Free Iran.
One of those areas was freedom of dress and today we will examine why Maryam Rajavi believes that choice in clothing is such an important area to achieve gender equality in.
What are the laws regarding women’s clothing in Iran?
Under the mullahs’ Sharia law, women are supposed to remain veiled in public. The law is incredibly unpopular in Iran and many women defy it at any given opportunity.
When was this law introduced?
The mandatory Hijab was introduced in the early days of the Iranian Regime and many Iranian women, especially those involved in the NCRI member group the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), protested against it and held demonstrations to oppose the law.
How does Maryam Rajavi feel about forced veiling?
As we said in our earlier piece, Maryam Rajavi believes that women should be free to choose their own clothing and that the government should not interfere. She believes that the forced veiling law, along with every other sexist law that deprives women of their individual rights, turns the country into a prison for women.
Maryam Rajavi said: “Iranian women must be free. They must be free to choose what they believe in, what they want to wear and how they want to live. And [the Iranian Resistance repeats]: no to compulsory veil; no to compulsory religion; and no to compulsory government.”
What happens to the women who defy the mandatory hijab law?
If the women are caught by the so-called morality police, over 20 police entities who are in charge of enforcing the religious laws of Iran and suppressing people caught drinking alcohol or attending mixed-gender parties, then they can face arrests, fines, torture, floggings, beatings, rape, or any other inhumane punishment that the Regime authorities can think up.
Why does the Regime react so harshly?
The Regime is increasingly unstable and has to come down hard on any form of dissent in order to keep their tenuous grip on power.
Maryam Rajavi said: “Clamping down on women on the pretext of mal-veiling is one of the most effective means to repress society and silence any voice of dissent. The mullahs have no scruples in enchaining women on so-called religious grounds.”
She continued: “Misogyny is at the core of suppression against society as a whole, since preserving the ruling theocracy is predicated on it. Such misogyny does not arise from blind, religious zealotry or trying to safeguard societal chastity, or even preserving the foundation of the family. Misogyny under the cloak of religion has become systematic and persistent because it is a lever to maintain the monopolistic domination of the velayat-e faqih. Misogyny is the raison d'être for dozens of the regime’s suppressive agencies.”
What would Maryam Rajavi do about forced veiling?
Maryam Rajavi would repeal the forced veiling law and any employment legislation that allow workplaces to fire or discriminate against women who do not wear the hijab.
Maryam Rajavi said: “Written or unwritten laws on controlling the clothing or behaviour of women under the rubric of “mal-veiling,” which have violated Iranian women’s right to freedom and security, shall have no place in tomorrow’s Iran.”