Issued by CEMO Center - Paris
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Advance repression: Why do Iran's mullahs want to establish Hijab City?

Thursday 07/September/2023 - 01:00 PM
The Reference
Noura Bendari

A few days only are left before the first anniversary of the murder of a Kurdish woman at the hands of Iran's Morality Police.

The members of this Iranian police force killed the woman on September 16 last year for non-compliance with Iran's hijab dress rules.

These rules are enshrined in the Iranian constitution.

The killing of the woman triggered massive protests throughout Iran for several months.

However, Iranian security eventually put the protests down, despite announcing earlier the dissolution of the Morality Police force.

The force oversees the extent to which women are committed to the head cover.

It returned to its work as usual as of July this year, which confirms that the Iranian regime will not back down from its attempts to impose the hijab on all Iranian women.

In trying to do this, the Iranian regime will enlist the services of the Basij force this time with the aim of launching what is called the 'City of the Veil'.

This may, however, portend the return of protests to Iranian streets.

Hijab city

This comes in the context of an announcement by the head of the Basij trade unions, merchants and economic activists in Iran on August 21 about the establishment of Hijab City centres in Tehran and Isfahan provinces.

He said the centres would introduce hijab styles and products in Tehran and Isfahan.

This announcement comes in conjunction with a campaign by Iranian police to shut down places where women do not adhere to wearing the hijab.

On August 20, the police closed a library in Tehran, along with a number of hotels in Mahabad City.

The police also closed down the ecotourism unit in the city of Qazvin.

It justified its moves by saying that these places did not comply with the rules of compulsory hijab.

The police also closed down another library in the Iranian capital because of the sale of children's books and the refusal of its female clients to wear the compulsory hijab.

Iranian authorities have not only closed offices, institutions and various bodies for non-compliance with the hijab. They also arrested, repressed and tortured Iranian women who refused to wear the hijab or adhere to the 'correct' dress code.

The Iranian government has pushed the Basij forces to redeploy on the streets.

Early reaction

Iranian affairs specialist, Mohamed Ebadi, said the steps taken by the Basij forces can be understood in two contexts.

"The first concerns the challenge posed by Iranian youths who rose up after the murder of the Kurdish woman," Ebadi told The Reference.

He said these youths had forced the Iranian government to manoeuvre and issue decisions on the dissolution of the Morality Police.

"After the situation calmed down, the regime returned to challenge the youth by establishing such cities," Ebadi added.