Iran Accelerates Hijab Enforcement Using Street Facial Recognition Cameras, ‘Morality Police’ Enforcers

Iran morality police hijab patrol

by Vijeta Uniyal at

Tehran is buying up Chinese surveillance tech to identify hijab violators.

Despite simmering anti-regime protests since the death of a 22-year-old Iranian woman at the hands of the Islamic Morality Police in September 2022 for not wearing a proper hijab, Tehran is tightening the enforcement of Sharia dress code. “Iran’s morality police are to resume controversial street patrols to enforce the dress code requiring women to cover their hair and wear loose clothing,” the BBC reported July 17.

After months of absences, the dreaded Morality Police are back on the Iranian streets. Earlier this month, Iran’s police spokesman Saeed Montazerolmahdi confirmed that the enforcers of the Morality Police were back on patrol to “deal with those who, unfortunately, ignore the consequences of not wearing the proper hijab and insist on disobeying the norms.”

The Sharia enforcers “deal” with dissenting women by beating them, imposing fines, and putting them behind bars. Women refusing to wear a hijab face absurd charges of blasphemy and  “encouraging and preparing the grounds for corruption and prostitution.” Some are handed lengthy prison sentences by regime-run Islamic courts for mere dress code violations.

The Associated Press reported on July 23:

Iranian authorities on Sunday announced a new campaign to force women to wear the Islamic headscarf and morality police returned to the streets 10 months after the death of a woman in their custody sparked nationwide protests.

The morality police had largely pulled back following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini last September, as authorities struggled to contain mass protests calling for the overthrow of the theocracy that has ruled Iran for over four decades.

The protests largely died down earlier this year following a heavy crackdown in which over 500 protesters were killed and nearly 20,000 detained. But many women continued to flout the official dress code, especially in the capital, Tehran, and other cities. (…)

Authorities insisted throughout the crisis that the rules had not changed. Iran’s clerical rulers view the hijab as a key pillar of the Islamic revolution that brought them to power, and consider more casual dress a sign of Western decadence.

On Sunday, Gen. Saeed Montazerolmahdi, a police spokesman, said the morality police would resume notifying and then detaining women not wearing hijab in public. In Tehran, the men and women of the morality police could be seen patrolling the streets in marked vans.

More than 500 demonstrators were killed and an estimated 2o,000 were arrested for taking part in anti-regime protests that erupted last spring. Several of them were publicly hanged from cranes to force Iranians into submission.

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