“Hijab of women, Hijab of women, Hijab of women”

This is a phrase that has been constantly repeated by the Iranian regime’s media, to varying intensity. It appears that apart from this repetition to ensure the women of Iran are adhering to their rules, the regime has no other priorities to address.

It seems that this subject greatly threatens the regime, so much so that Ahmad Alamolhoda, the regime’s supreme leader’s representative in Mashhad, previously said, “The leadership ordered fire at will, therefore if a woman in the street removes her headscarf, she must face the protests of the people and see that she has no place among the people. In this case, be sure that will wear two scarves, and this is the method of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil.”

Here, the phrase “fire at will” means that the regime’s forces and thugs are given the green light to commit any kind of savagery against the women and that the laws of the regime not only will support and aid them but will also give them a sense of impunity.

The question is why does the regime repeat its threats periodically against the country’s women in regards to hijab wearing? Their excuse is that by not complying with the regime’s fabricated laws of hijab, the women will stain the ‘chastity’ of society.

Do the regime’s officials really care about the women by supposedly defending their chastity and preserving their dignity? If so, why are they parading the country’s women in front of society and displaying the most heinous repressive behaviors in response to non-adherence to the law?

The truth is that the regime’s concern was never the chastity and dignity of the women. Expressions like “chastity”, “respect” and “hijab” are affected greatly by the regime’s medieval culture and have lost their real meaning so they must be redefined.

‘Compulsory hijab’ is merely a platform for the repression of women in Iranian society. Over the past few years, in each protest that has taken place, women have become leaders and forerunners. When the regime loses control in the face of the growing uprisings, they resort to intensifying its repression of women in order to contain society.

The coincidence of the recent Abadan protests with the brutal repression of women for not complying with the regime’s laws of hijab is not accidental.

Physical assaults on the women and girls of Iran sometimes become so insulting, brutal, and degrading that even some regime officials and supporters have raised their voices against it, and warned the government of new sparks of protests as a result.

On June 13, the state-run Jahan-e Sanat daily stated, “Violent clashes, such as the recent shooting of guidance patrol officers to the boxer and his family in Pardisan Park due to the issue of hijab, have very negative consequences in society.”

They added, “However, experts emphasize that this kind of behavior of the police and the comments of officials such as the Secretary of the Kurdistan Command for enjoining the good and forbidding the evil not only do not solve the issue of hijab in the country but also intensify the feeling of insecurity in society in the current situation.”

In regards to the phrase, ‘the feeling of insecurity in the society, in the current situation’, the daily is referring to the fragility of the regime in the face of popular protests. This spectrum of sovereignty knows that when a fire is lit, it will not be possible to contain it.

On June 13, the state-run Etemad daily quoted journalist Abbas Abdi, writing, “The solution to social problems is not necessarily in legislation and law enforcement, some issues get worse with these policies, rather being improved. This level of resentment and hatred for an issue that is beyond the scope of public order is one of the wonders of governance. Not only does this not work, but it also has the opposite effect.”

These warnings show that in the current situation of society, repression in response to women flouting the hijab rule no longer has any effect on society.

On June 14, the state-run Resalat daily wrote in their publication, “At present, the guidance patrol has no serious benefit other than providing the enemy media corps with weapons and content. Guidance patrols will also deepen the faults in the society and will create contradiction and hatred between different groups of the society.”

Ms. Irina Tsukerman: The women’s hijab issue is a shiny coin Iran has developed specifically for the West…

“It is true that the Iran regime is increasingly pusing an even more dogmatic and fundamentalist ideology throughout the country, not only by pushing the hijab issue, but by increasingly banning-Western style education previously accessible in schools and universities.

The goal, of course, is to produce a generation of indoctrinated young people loyal to the regime who will not be tempted by liberalism or what Western societies have to offer.

“This may not completely offset the economic troubles, but on the other side, indoctrinated individuals will be a more welcomed part of the security apparatus and will enjoy the boons of the corrupt system where regime loyalists enjoy financial privileges denied to the rest of the country.

“The regime is well aware that the West is “triggered” by women related issues; it is pushing the attacks on women specifically to distract from its other wrongdoings, including torture in prisons, terrorism, and the nuclear research program.

“Indeed, periodic pearl-clutching over the women’s rights issues in Western societies helps the regime with its fundamentalist base. First, these solidarity campaigns never last very long, and don’t make any visible impact on the situation of women in Iran. Second, the hardcore human rights community, out of political correctness or due to misplaced priorities, never rallies enough to make any such pressure possible or relevant.

“It can occasionally affect the status of a particular prisoner, but not a social issue or policy as a whole. Third, anti-hijab campaigns abroad feed into the regime’s own propaganda. It keeps track of women’s rights activists at home and being in full control of the situation allows them to “act out” periodically for its own reasons.

“That’s why it is very naive either for the liberal-minded Iranians or the Westerners to believe that social campaigns without significant accompanyiing political and economic pressure by a cohort of Western and Middle Eastern governments does anything but endanger the lives of the participants.

“None of these campaigns have even led to significant uprisings inside the country which supports two observations: that the level of the regime’s control over the society in general and over such activism specificaly is extreme, and that most of the country is not ready or willing to make women’s hijab issue a cause for a revolution.

“And if it’s not important enough for Iranians themselves, why should it be anything of that sort for the West? Indeed, the regime hopes that the West will continue to validate and elevate and promote anti-hijab activists because they mostly speak to the West and to the minority opposition groups, rather than to the issues most relevant to the Iranians overall or to the regime.

“This just means that the West continues to misunderstand the situation and priorities in Iran, and engages in empty virtue signaling, without taking the time to study what needs to be done or without engaging with Iranians and working jointly to develop an effective response to Iran’s cruelty and abuses.

“The women’s hijab issue is a shiny coin Iran has developed specifically for the West. The Iranians are more preoccupied with more fundamental issues, such as food prices and access to water.”