Police are using “smart” cameras to enforce hijab law
Iranian police have announced that they are installing cameras in public places to identify unveiled women. Women who do not cover their hair with a hijab risk receiving a text message warning them of the consequences of their actions. The move is intended to prevent “resistance against the hijab law” after protests last year triggered by the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini. Since her death, more women have been discarding their veils despite the threat of arrest.
The police statement, published by the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency, states that the “smart” cameras and other tools are used to identify and send “documents and warning messages to the violators of the hijab law.” The legal requirement for women to cover their hair with a hijab was enacted after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Women who violate the law face fines or arrest.
Women’s rights activists have criticized the move, calling it a violation of privacy, and highlighting that public attacks on unveiled women are not uncommon. Last week, a man was seen throwing yogurt at two unveiled women who were subsequently arrested along with him for violating the hijab law.
Despite the enforcement of the hijab law, growing numbers of Iranian women are rejecting the veil. The police statement has described the veil as “one of the civilizational foundations of the Iranian nation” and urged businesses to uphold the rules through “diligent inspections.”
President Ebrahim Raisi has stressed the importance of the hijab as a “religious necessity.” However, the judiciary chief Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei has cautioned against widespread crackdowns, calling for a cultural solution to resolve the issue.
In conclusion, the Iranian authorities are installing cameras to identify unveiled women and send warning messages about violating the hijab law. Despite the enforcement of the law, more women are rejecting the veil, and public attacks on unveiled women are not rare. While some officials insist on enforcing the law, others oppose widespread crackdowns and suggest a cultural solution to the issue.