Women in Iran ‘not afraid’ of police, as many ignore hijab rules

Iranian women are refusing to comply with hijab rules in Iran, ABC News reported, as reporters recently conducted an investigation in Tehran. Not wearing a hijab is punishable by the Iranian morality police, who generally patrol the streets of Iran. 

“We Iranian girls are not afraid of anything anymore,” said Maedeh, a 26-year-old sports trainer who was one of several Iranian women to speak with the ABC correspondent without wearing a hijab. 

Although ABC News reported that they did not see members of the morality police on the streets of Tehran, Iranian women reported that they were receiving text message warnings when government-monitored feeds showed that a woman was not wearing a hijab. 

A reporting system for witnesses of women not wearing hijab

After the first warning, when traffic cameras capture them without a proper head covering in their vehicles, they must go to court. 

Additionally, the Iranian women reported that there is a reporting system that allows people to take pictures of women without hijabs and send them to authorities. ABC News reported that many women were seen on the streets of Tehran without a head covering.  

A MAN views a newspaper with a cover picture of Mahsa Amini, in Tehran, last week. (credit: WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY/REUTERS)

The punishment for not wearing a hijab is largely financial, an anonymous Iranian source told ABC News, ever since the 2022 protests that were sparked by Mahsa Amini’s death in state custody after allegedly violating the hijab law. 

One Iranian-born woman, back in Tehran on holiday, Hamayra told ABC News that choosing not to wear a hijab is “the least I can do.” 

She continued, “There’s always an element that I might get arrested, but you know what, we need to push back. [Iranian women] are much, much braver. I think they’re not scared anymore.” 

At the protests over the death of Amini, over 20,000 people were arrested, and 500 were killed, NGO Iran Human Rights stated.

This week, a 32-year-old member of the Lur ethnic minority is facing years of imprisonment in Iran after being tortured while in state custody, the Center for Human Rights in Iran reported.

He was initially arrested while attending a protest in October 2022 and then arrested again in September 2023 after being held captive for months. From September 2023 until earlier this month, he was held incommunicado when his family was suddenly notified of the location of his trial, where he did not have a lawyer and was not allowed to speak. While he is home recovering from his previous arrests, he could be taken to prison at any moment. 

In 2023, 834 people were executed, according to a United Nations report from January 2024. Eight of those people were executed at the protests, while 15 others faced the death penalty. 

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