Iran steps up crackdown on women over attire

Iran Focus

Tehran, 22 Apr - The Iranian government has launched a new plan to rigorously enforce veiling laws. Some 7,000 morality officers have been dispatched to Tehran with the task of alerting official law enforcement to instances of “mal-veilling” and other perceived “violations” of the law including noise pollution.

Ershad Patrols have been positioned in front of department stores, shopping centers, main squares, parks and busy streets to spot “immoral” and “un-Islamic” behaviour.

“Over 7000 male and female forces will keep a presence in the streets to observe and      report cases to the security police”, said Hossein Sajedinia, Tehran’s State Security Forces (SSF) commander.

Between March 2013 and March 2014 there were almost three million enforcement practices by the Ershad Patrols, with a large number of people being sent to court and imprisoned. Iran’s population has been using technology to combat the patrols. The Gershad app lets users mark the location of morality police checkpoints on a shared map. The app was blocked by the Iranian government but Iranians are able to bypass restrictions by using a VPN.

“Technology has created an amazing opportunity to forge a cooperative solution to common social problems”, Gershad’s anonymous creators say, according to Business Insider.

The Iranian government’s fundamentalist law means that any vehicle can be impounded for weeks if a woman is seen not wearing the legally-required veil. The National Council of Resistance of Iran offers a different future for Iran, with Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect, declaring a belief in “complete gender equality in political, social and economic arenas”.

“We are also committed to equal participation of women in political leadership. Any form of discrimination against women will be abolished. They will enjoy the right to freely choose their clothing. They are free in marriage, divorce, education and employment”, according to Rajavi.