"Cleansing Society:" Iran's Insidious New Emboldened Forced Hijab Policy

Continuing the crackdown on women, Iran’s Headquarters for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice has released a 119-page document outlining new rules women must now observe. 

IranWire called the new order, titled Hijab and Chastity Project, unhinged, calling out its most important goal: "cleansing society of the pollution caused by nonconformance with Islamic dress codes." 

The order also aims to "build a model of an Islamic society in regard to chastity."

The document requires medical staff to provide “appropriate garments” to female patients undergoing surgery, fines individuals found importing “vulgar” dresses, and imposes mandatory prison sentences for questioning or posting content against hijab online. There are also new disciplinary policies for actresses who work with public broadcasters. 

Ahmad Vahidi, the Iranian interior minister, urged women "not to get influenced by these bad suggestions from the west.”

The Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution preapproved the order and ordered strict implementation of “every single one of its stipulations.”

The document was rolled out after an Iranian writer and artist appeared on Iran's state television, making a confession and apologizing for not following the hijab law. The 28-year-old Sepideh Rashno was arrested in July when videos of her wearing "improper clothing" went viral.

Human rights watchdogs and advocates are alarmed over Iran's backsliding policies that increase violence against women who are not wearing a hijab.

Ali Ansari, a professor specializing in Middle Eastern politics at the University of St. Andrews, describes Iran's policies as a "systematic wider pattern of repression." Ansari accused Raisi of creating a punitive culture in Iran.

"The women's movement is presented as a threat to national security because it represents a breakdown in social norms and western influence penetrating society," Ansari said.

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