Iran Approves Stricter Hijab Bill

Iran’s parliament has recently passed a further controversial bill that would increase fines and prison terms for women who break the strict dress code. Those who are deemed “inappropriately dressed” will face up to 10 years in prison under the bill, of which a three year “trial period” was agreed.
21 September 2023

The bill will still need to be approved by the Guardian Council to become law, UN human rights experts have described this newest bill as “tantamount to gender apartheid.”

The approval of the hijab bill comes a mere few days after the first anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s death on 16th September 2022. Amini, 22, had been detained for allegedly wearing the Islamic headscarf incorrectly, with her death causing national and global outrage and protests. Hundreds were killed in protests after Amini’s death and just this week, human rights groups reported that security forces had detained dozens of protesters in the country.

Along with the bill, there are also harsher punishments for women who are defying the strict dress code. The draft law also declares to identify those that are “promoting nudity”, “indecency” or “mock” the rules in both the virtual and non virtual space. Women who wear “revealing or tight clothing” or show a part of their body “lower than the neck or higher than the ankles or higher than the forearms”, will face tough punishments.

The bill was put to vote with 152 in favour, 34 against and seven abstentions. To become law, a final approval is needed from Iran’s Guardian Council, which is made up of 12 men and is headed by a recently re-elected 97 year old cleric, Ahmad Jannati, who has been chair since 1988.

An Iranian protester who was detained and interrogated by the “morality police” in August spoke out saying, “we are not waiting for a seal of approval from the council because, on the ground, they’ve already implemented the law. Women are being followed, harassed, detained and interrogated, like always.”