- By Sebastian Usher
- Middle East analyst, BBC News
The authorities in Iran have made clear their intention to impose compulsory veiling on women.
This comes after months of protests calling for an end to the restriction.
A hard-line Iranian deputy has issued an ultimatum to eliminate measures to put an end to women’s violation of the rules of hijab, within the next 48 hours.
The mass protests that broke out across Iran in September have been largely suppressed for the time being by brute force.
But some women still defy the rules of compulsory veiling in public. Videos and photos posted online show mounting frustration and anger at the restrictions, which remain a powerful force in Iranian society.
A video released this week shows a man throwing a bowl of milk in the face of an uncovered woman. His act was met with outrage by both male and female passers-by.
Protests have swept the Islamic Republic following the death in September of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who was detained by Tehran’s morality police for allegedly wearing a headscarf “indecently”.
This week, the Interior Ministry announced that there would be no retraction or forgiveness on the issue. The statement said that the hijab remains an essential element of Islamic law and, therefore, will remain one of the basic principles of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The hardline rhetoric echoed that of the head of the judiciary, Gholamhossein Mohseni-Eje, who recently said that women who do not wear headscarves will be prosecuted without mercy.
And now, a hardline MP has said that legislative action must be taken to implement what he called the “divine decree” of the veil.
Hossein Ali Haji Delegani said that if the judiciary does not present such a measure within the next 48 hours, the deputies will present a bill to fill the legal void.
He said it was in line with the Parliamentary Cultural Committee’s report on “Chastity and the Veil”.
The protests broadened to include calls for an overhaul of the Islamic Republic – but remained rooted in the headscarf issue.
The image of Mahsa Amini remained the most powerful symbol of the movement, which for a while managed to shake the foundations of the theocracy that had ruled Iran for more than 40 years.
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