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IRANIAN officials claimed that women who refuse to wear the hijab are a threat to the Islamic Republic, blaming infiltrators and enemies for undermining the clerical regime.
Iran’s chief prosecutor Jafar Dolatabadi warned: “The enemy is trying to turn chastity and the hijab into a choice. Therefore they have instigated some people to take off their hijab, trying to make their plans operational, but they were met with the decisive approach of the judiciary and the police.”
It is believed he was referring to the anti-government protests that swept across Iran at the beginning of 2018, when thousands poured onto the streets demanding change. Iconic photographs showed women leading the demonstrations, with many removing their hijabs in an act of defiance against the clerical regime.
Iran has strict laws on wearing the veil, with all women required to cover themselves whatever their religious beliefs becoming mandatory in 1985, just six years after the Iranian Revolution.
According the the Islamic Penal Code, those who defy the laws “shall be sentenced to between 10 days and two months’ imprisonment or a fine of 50,000 to 500 Rials.”
The government is facing growing popular unrest with strike action across the country, including national action by teachers and lorry drivers and industrial disputes over pay and privatisation at the Ahvaz steelworks and Haft Tappeh sugar factory.
However the authorities have responded by jailing and allegedly torturing leading trade unionists and threatening lorry drivers with the death penalty.
Leading clerics have blamed “infiltration” for the unrest and warned of human rights organisations seeking to undermine the government and destroy the state.
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