Iran authorities reviewing hijab law

Iran authorities reviewing hijab law

Move by parliament and judiciary comes after protests that have left hundreds dead

An image posted on Twitter, reportedly on Oct 26, 2022 shows an unveiled woman standing on top of a vehicle as thousands make their way toward a cemetery in Saqez, the home town of Mahsa Amini in the western Iranian province of Kurdistan, to mark 40 days since her death. (UGC Photo via AFP)
An image posted on Twitter, reportedly on Oct 26, 2022 shows an unveiled woman standing on top of a vehicle as thousands make their way toward a cemetery in Saqez, the home town of Mahsa Amini in the western Iranian province of Kurdistan, to mark 40 days since her death. (UGC Photo via AFP)

Iran’s parliament and the judiciary are reviewing a law that requires women to cover their heads, and which triggered more than two months of deadly protests, the country’s attorney-general says.

The demonstrations began after Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian of Kurdish origin, died in custody on Sept 16 after her arrest by Iran’s morality police for an alleged breach of the dress code.

Protesters have burned their head coverings and shouted anti-government slogans. Since Amini’s death a growing number of women are not observing hijab, particularly in Tehran’s fashionable north.

The hijab headscarf became obligatory for all women in Iran in April 1983, four years after the 1979 revolution that overthrew the US-backed monarchy.

“Both parliament and the judiciary are working (on the issue)”, of whether the law needs any changes, Attorney General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri said in the holy city of Qom.

Quoted on Friday by the ISNA news agency, he did not specify what could be modified in the law.

The review team met on Wednesday with parliament’s cultural commission “and will see the results in a week or two”, he said.

President Ebrahim Raisi on Saturday said the coubntry’s republican and Islamic foundations were constitutionally entrenched.

“But there are methods of implementing the constitution that can be flexible,” he said in televised comments.

Hundreds killed

After the hijab law became mandatory, with changing clothing norms it became commonplace to see women in tight jeans and loose, colourful headscarves.

But in July this year Raisi, an ultra-conservative, called for mobilisation of “all state institutions to enforce the headscarf law”.

Many women continued to bend the rules, however.

Iran accuses its sworn enemy the United States and its allies, including Britain, Israel, and Kurdish groups based outside the country, of fomenting the street violence which the government calls “riots”.

A general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps this week, for the first time, said that more than 300 people had lost their lives in the unrest since Amini’s death.

The country’s top security body, the Supreme National Security Council, on Saturday said the number of people killed during the protests “exceeds 200”.

Quoted by the state news agency IRNA, it said the figure included security officers, civilians, armed separatists and “rioters”.

The Oslo-based non-governmental organisation Iran Human Rights on Tuesday said at least 448 people had been “killed by security forces in the ongoing nationwide protests”.

UN human rights chief Volker Turk said last week that 14,000 people, including children, had been arrested in the protest crackdown.


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