On July 5, the Iranian regime’s state media reported that the deputy attorney-general in Mashhad, the capital of the northeastern Iranian province Razavi Khorasan, had ordered governmental offices to not provide services to “bad-hijab” [improperly-veiled] women. The ruling mullahs in Iran regularly use ‘bad hijab’ in reference to women who defy their restrictive misogynistic measures. The ‘Islamic Republic’ constitution forces women and girls older than nine to cover their hair entirely when in public.

Such oppressive measures have been institutionalized in Iran since the mullahs seized power in February 1979. In their first attempt against the people’s fundamental freedoms, the regime’s founder Ruhollah Khomeini ordered the implementation of compulsory hijab barely a month after the regime’s inception. “Either headscarf or hit on the head,” Khomeini’s thugs chanted as they assaulted women in the streets.

Misogynistic measures have always been rooted in the core of the religious dictatorship in Iran. There is no distinction between the ‘principlists’, who are loyal to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and affiliated with the designated Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), or the so-called ‘moderates’, such as former president Hassan Rouhani.

Rouhani was formerly in charge of implementing the compulsory hijab rules while in the army after the 1979 revolution. In an interview with Mashreq daily on March 25, 2017, Rouhani said, “The plan on women’s hijab and veil in March 1979 was not an easy issue, and officials tried to implement it for a long while. Women employees without the veil began grumbling and making chaos, but I stood firm, saying, ‘From tomorrow, the security should prevent unveiled ladies from entering the site of the Joint Staff of the Army’.”

On the other hand, the opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), was the only Muslim organization that rejected the new dictatorship’s nonsense regarding compulsory veiling. Thousands of MEK members and supporters escorted the unveiled women’s march in Tehran despite their profound beliefs in Islam and their female members and sympathizers wearing the hijab.

The MEK’s support for women’s fundamental right to choose their own attire undercut Khomeini’s excuse to apply a sense of panic and horror, attracting millions of women and girls to the organization.

Bad Hijab, A Pretext for Suppression

Now, the mullahs have resorted to enforcing ‘bad-hijab offenses’ to crack down on men too. Following Mashhad’s deputy attorney-general’s letter to the local governor, and the banning of governmental offices and banks from servicing ‘bad-hijab’ women, Iranian state media reported about new patrols to counter men’s ‘bad-hijab offenses’.

On July 6, in an article entitled ‘Men’s Patrol Guidance launched’, the semiofficial Khattesevome website wrote, “A new plan to improve hijab and veil has started in Khorasan Razavi province. The plan included the men, who will be sentenced if they breach the prescribed clothing regulations.”

The regime has established a ‘military base’ to implement the ‘hijab and veil plan’ until National Hijab Day. Based on the plan, the 21 Tir base will be tasked with fulfilling hijab regulations for women and men. The Khattesevome website added, “Women’s hijab is assessed based on their chadors, scarves, coats, pants, socks, shoes, and the color of the clothes they wear. Men’s dress code includes not wearing iconic western clothes like neckties, bow ties, T-shirts, tight and short shirts, skinny and patched clothes, twinky jeans, and wearing gold and jewelry.”

The regime’s ‘Amr-e be Ma’rouf & Nahy az Monkar’ headquarters reportedly banned citizens in Razavi Khorasan province from user profile photos in which women do not have any hijab. The semiofficial Asr Iran website stated, “Yesterday, the headquarters announced that it would examine men and women about obeying the hijab and other disciplinary issues.”

It seems apparent that the Iranian regime imposes compulsory hijab based on its misogynistic mindset, rather than based on religious grounds. In this context, not only do authorities apply this strict rule via brazen oppressive methods, but they propagate and spread false rumors.

The regime has gone so far as to form 32 institutions and organizations to impose the compulsory hijab regulations, according to Tehran’s Friday Prayer leader Kazem Seddiqi. The mullahs have even launched a propaganda campaign in order to dissuade people from flouting the rules. In a lecture on July 8, Tehran’s Friday Prayer leader Ahmad Khatami stated, “Many women not wearing the veil are the wives and daughters of thieves.”

At the same time, state-backed producer Mohammad-Hossein Farahbakhsh slammed 800 actresses for supporting the ‘Me Too’ movement. “These 800 people should be prosecuted and whipped for diffusing depravity, which is worse than depravity itself. We should end this show. Cinema staffers would never forgive this betrayal,” he said.

Compulsory Hijab Is Only a Part of Comprehensive Oppression

The religious dictatorship ruling Iran continues to face growing outbursts of nationwide protests. These days, any social grievance rapidly turns into political demonstrations with anti-establishment slogans, targeting high-ranking officials like Khamenei and Raisi.

At the forefront of these protests are Iranian women and girls, who are playing crucial roles in this process. Security officials have said that defiant women have been the leaders of many anti-regime demonstrations since 2017, particularly during the petrol protests in November 2019. However, the IRGC and security forces have routinely murdered, detained, tortured, and sentenced women to long-term imprisonment in a bid to quell public protests.

In such circumstances, the mullahs have intensified their misogynistic restrictions to curb further anti-regime activities and sideline defiant women, and actual leaders of protests, desperately hoping to ensure their regime’s survival.

On July 7, Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), said, “Fearing the popular protests and women’s active role in them, the misogynous regime ruling Iran has stepped suppression of women under the pretext of ‘improper veiling.’ I urge Iran’s rebellious youths to stand up to the security forces’ attacks and defend women and girls.”

She added, “The freedom-loving women and girls in Iran rise up and say no to the mullahs’ compulsory religion, no to the compulsory Hijab, and no to the compulsory rule of the anti-Iranian and anti-Islamic regime.”

In one of the regime’s recent oppressive actions, Guidance Patrols prevented ‘bad-hijab’ women from entering the Kourosh shopping mall in Tehran and detained them. Following such a heinous act, merchants shut down their shops in protest of the regime’s misogynistic measures. The event proved the extent to which the Iranian people are willing to counter the regime’s systematic crackdown on women at all costs.