A controversial draft law in Iran that stipulates harsher penalties for women who disregard the country’s Islamic dress code has been approved by a special parliamentary commission on Monday, according to Deutsche Welle.
The specific implementation details of the new bill remain unclear. The parliament chose to increase the opacity of the new hijab rules by passing the regulations without an open session earlier in August, out of concern for potential backlash.
Iranian legislators previously voted to grant the parliament the ability to delegate the approval of the bill to an internal committee, effectively sidelining any opposition.
Although not yet in effect, the proposed regulation paves the way for prison terms of up to 15 years for individuals who do not wear headscarves. The draft further stipulates that well-known figures or celebrities, recognised widely by society, will face even more stringent punishments if they violate these regulations.
The hijab bill imposes a prohibition on photographing or recording law enforcement officers enforcing the hijab law, while allowing both officers and civilians to capture images of individuals breaching the hijab law and share them on a dedicated police platform. Additionally, they will have the authority to report businesses that fail to adhere to the new hijab regulations.
The draft law has been a topic of debate for several months, with legal experts asserting that it not only infringes upon civil rights but also violates the country’s Constitution.
This endeavour to tighten regulations regarding headscarves coincides with the approaching one-year mark of nationwide Jin, Jiyan, Azadi (Woman, Life, Freedom) protests that erupted following the September 2022 death of Jina (Mahsa) Amini while in the custody of morality police. The subsequent security force crackdown resulted in the deaths of over 530 individuals and the arrest of over 22,000 people.