Iranian police have announced that they will use “smart” technology in public places to enforce the strict Islamic dress code, by identifying and penalising women who violate it.
According to a police statement published by the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency, the smart cameras and other tools will be used to identify and send “documents and warning messages to the violators of the hijab law.”
Women who are seen in public without their hair covered will receive a warning text message about the consequences.
The announcement comes after a growing number of women in Iran have been discarding their veils, particularly in larger cities.
It follows protests sparked by the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, a young Kurdish woman arrested for allegedly violating the hijab rule.
Since her death, women have been increasingly defying the compulsory dress code, despite the risk of arrest and fines.
The police statement emphasised the importance of the hijab as one of the civilisational foundations of the Iranian nation, and urged business owners to uphold the rules through “diligent inspections”.
Public attacks on unveiled women are not uncommon, as seen in a recent viral video showing a man throwing yoghurt at two women who were subsequently arrested under the hijab law.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has reiterated that Iranian women must wear the hijab as a “religious necessity,” while the head of the judiciary, Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei, warned that “removing (the) hijab amounts to enmity towards values, and people who commit such abnormality will be punished.”
However, he also cautioned that “cultural problems must be resolved by cultural means” and that arresting and imprisoning individuals may not be the most effective approach.
“If we want to solve such problems by arresting and imprisoning, the costs will increase, and we will not see the desired effectiveness,” he said.
As of next Saturday, individuals who remove their hijab in public places will be warned first, and if repeated, presented to the courts.
Car owners will also receive a warning text if any of their passengers violate the dress code, and their vehicles will be seized if the offence is repeated.
– With AFP