For decades, Iranian women have fought against the oppressive regime and its medieval laws and misogyny. Despite facing tremendous challenges, Iranian women have continued their struggle for gender equality and human rights in Iran.
Since the establishment of the Islamic Revolution of 1979, women in Iran have been subject to discriminatory laws and practices. The regime implemented a series of laws and policies that severely restricted women’s rights and freedoms, including mandatory hijab (headscarf), gender segregation, and limitations on women‘s participation in the workforce and politics.
The following are only a few instances of discriminatory laws imposed on women at the beginning of the mullahs’ rule:
- On February 28, 1979, gender discrimination against women in sports was implemented.
- On March 2, 1979, women were prohibited from becoming judges, and hundreds of women judges or judicial trainees were dismissed.
- On March 7, 1979, the mandatory hijab fatwa was issued for women working in government offices, and the regime’s supporters chanted “Either headscarf or beating.”
However, Iranian women have refused to quietly accept these restrictions. They have been at the forefront of social and political movements in Iran, demanding their rights and challenging the patriarchal system. Iranian women have been using their voices to demand change, despite facing severe repression from the regime.
Therefore, women’s ongoing resistance and protests, especially those who were the vanguards and leaders of recent demonstrations, have caused great concern for Khamenei and his regime.
As a result, besides him, top officials such as his president Ebrahim Raisi, chief of judiciary Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Eje’i, speaker of the parliament Mohammad Bahger Qalibaf, and law enforcement commander Ahmadreza Radan have recently made public statements to increase pressure on women.
Mohesni-Eje’i warned the women and said: “The removal of the veil is tantamount to hostility towards (our) values.” And added: “Those “who commit such abnormal acts” would be punished and “persecuted without mercy.”
Their excuse for doing so is the enforcement of the regime’s dress codes. These statements were echoed by parliament members and Friday prayer leaders.
Furthermore, the regime’s four ministries – Interior, Education, Science, and Health – have issued official statements, making threats and outlining consequences such as punishment, fines, and shop closures for those who do not comply with and violate the compulsory Hijab laws.
Last Thursday the regime’s Interior Ministry described the headscarf as “one of the civilizing foundations of the Iranian nation” and appealed to citizens to confront unveiled women.
“Our plans for the hijab will soon be implemented more effectively than before,” MP Hossein Jalali announced on March 26.
Jalali is a member of the culture committee in the regime’s parliament. According to Jalali, the Culture Committee has had 300 meetings with National Security Council officials over the past few months to discuss the new “chastity and hijab plan.”
If the plan is implemented, these women could face fines of up to the equivalent of 60,000 euros, almost three times higher than the so-called “blood money.” The planned catalog of penalties also includes the cancellation of a driver’s license and passport. According to Jalali, the regime should present a bill for this in the next one to two weeks. The monitoring, documentation, and penalties are to be carried out by an automated monitoring system and the use of artificial intelligence.
Then following Khamenei’s statement that non-compliance with hijab is both a Sharia and political violation, the regime has acted. Khamenei also suggested that the enemy has a plan regarding this matter, and thus the regime must prepare to confront it. As a result, the regime’s officials have been ordered to prepare for this plan.
Subsequently, it was revealed that one of Khamenei’s plans involved poisoning students, which began again on April 3 – coinciding with the reopening of schools after Nowruz vacations.
It is both astonishing and unsurprising that Khamenei deceitfully ordered the responsible institutions to identify the mastermind behind the poisoning of schoolgirls in March during the tree-planting day.
However, his recent statement on mandatory hijab highlights the regime’s lack of capacity for change, particularly regarding women’s rights. Due to the significant blow to his regime by women’s bravery during protests, Khamenei seeks revenge against them to prevent further demonstrations.
Despite the severe risks they face, Iranian women have refused to be silenced, and their fight for a free country continues. They challenge the regime’s discriminatory practices and laws by returning to the streets, braving the odds, and raising their voice to demand regime change.
Iranian women have demonstrated their courage, resilience, and determination, and their fight for equality and human rights continues to inspire people around the world.
The people of Iran will no longer tolerate the regime. Victories are not obtained at a steady pace. There are also setbacks. But society will no longer accept this pressure. And when the system is already cracked, it cannot continue as before. In this respect, it is a matter of time before a break occurs.