President Ebrahim Raisi said on Saturday that the hijab was the law in Iran after a viral video showed a man throwing yogurt at two unveiled women in a shop near a holy Shiite Muslim city.
A growing number of women have defied the authorities by removing their headscarves after nationwide protests that followed the death in September of a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman in moral police custody for allegedly violating the rules of the hijab. Security forces violently suppress the revolt
Judicial authorities in a village near the northeastern city of Mashhad issued arrest warrants for the man who was seen pouring yogurt over the heads of the two women, a mother and her daughter. They were also the subject of arrest warrants for violating Iran’s strict dress rules for women, state media reported.
Risking arrest for defying the mandatory dress code, women are still widely seen unveiled in malls, restaurants, stores and streets across the country. Videos of unveiled women resisting the morality police have flooded social media.
In live comments on state television, Raisi said: «If some people say they don’t believe (in hijab)… it’s good to use persuasion… But the important point is that there is a legal requirement… and the hijab is today a legal matter.”
Authorities said the owner of the dairy store, who confronted the shooter, had been warned. Reports on social media showed his store had been closed, though he was quoted by a local news agency as saying it had been allowed to reopen and that he had to “explain” himself to a court.
The head of the judiciary, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, previously threatened to prosecute women who appear in public uncovered «without mercy», Iranian media reported.
«Revealing equals enmity for (our) values,» Ejei was quoted as saying by various news sites.
Under Iran’s Islamic sharia law, imposed after the 1979 revolution, women are required to cover their hair and wear long, loose-fitting clothing to conceal their figure. Violators have faced public reprimands, fines or arrest.
Describing the headscarf as «one of the foundations of the civilization of the Iranian nation» and «one of the practical principles of the Islamic Republic,» an Interior Ministry statement on Thursday said there would be «no withdrawal or tolerance» on the veil. issue.
He urged citizens to confront unveiled women. Such directives have emboldened hardliners in recent decades to attack women without impunity.