Controversial headscarf law passed in Iran

Women in Iran face fines, deportation bans and up to 15 years in prison if they disobey the regime's dress code in future.

About a year after the death of Jina Mahsa Amini, a commission of the Iranian parliament approved a tightening of the headscarf requirement. The new hijab law provides for even harsher penalties for violations. In the case of multiple violations, these include a fine of more than 5,000 euros, a ban on leaving the country and imprisonment of up to 15 years.

As examples of "bad clothing", the law mentions short-sleeved blouses or torn jeans for women, and trousers with short crotch length or tank tops for men. The law imposes detailed instructions on ministries and security services with duties to enforce Islamic dress codes. Civilians and security forces will be able to easily report violations.

In the next step, the reform will be submitted to the Guardian Council, a supervisory body made up of arch-conservative clerics. The penal reform is a response by the clerical-fascist regime to the women-led "Jin, Jiyan, Azadî" [Woman, Life, Freedom] revolution that broke out in autumn 2022.  Even though the street protests have died down, the resistance against the mullah regime continues. Numerous women are demonstratively opposing the compulsory wearing of headscarves, currently the maximum sign of civil disobedience.

Hardliners of the regime in Iran have been calling for a tougher law for months. In its current form, the draft law has already triggered criticism from many quarters. This is one of the reasons why the government convened a commission to approve the law without a vote in parliament. The law will initially be introduced on a trial basis.

The "Jin, Jiyan, Azadî" revolution is the largest wave of protest the Islamic Republic of Iran has experienced since its foundation in 1979. It was triggered by the killing of Jina Mahsa Amini. The 22-year-old Kurdish woman from Seqiz died on 16 September 2022 in a hospital in the Iranian capital Tehran. She had previously been detained by the so-called morality police and ill-treated at a police station. More than 500 protesters were killed and more than 20,000 arrested in the ensuing crackdown.