Prominent female dissident Zahra Rahnavard has warned the clerical rulers that Iranian women will eventually defeat them in the war over compulsory hijab.

Advising the rulers of the Islamic Republic to once and for all put an end to the enforcement of hijab, Rahnavard who has been under house arrest together with her husband Mir-Hossein Mousavi for thirteen years, since February 2011, also called for the abolishment of existing hijab laws.

Rahnavard, 78, was born into a family that did not particularly condone wearing the hijab. While studying art at Tehran University in the late 1960s, she became an advocate of wearing the hijab and even wrote several articles and books in its praise, both before and after the Islamic Revolution of 1979 when she became the first-ever female university chancellor in the country.

“The rulers [of the Islamic Republic] have waged a close combat against Iranian women by devising and advertising the chastity and hijab bill,” she said in a new statement, adding that they must realize that they will be “the real losers” in their war against the Iranian nation and women.

Rahnavard was referring to a bill called “Supporting the Culture of Hijab and Chastity and Health of Society” jointly prepared by the notoriously hardliner judiciary and the government of President Ebrahim Raisi, who asked the parliament to put it on its agenda with double urgency.

She said in her statement that the bill includes a “revolting list of medieval beliefs, violations of citizens’ rights and women’s natural and humanistic freedoms,” arguing that those behind the bill are unable to understand how economic, ethnic and gender discriminations should be lifted and remedied.

If the double urgency stature of the bill was approved, it would have been printed and distributed to lawmakers within six hours and debated within a maximum of two days.

The bill’s urgency was put to vote Tuesday, but lawmakers only agreed to the single urgency of the draft law, which means it will be referred to relevant committees for examination.

Women’s defiance of hijab rules is as old as the Islamic Republic itself, but it has escalated to new levels since the death of 22-year-old Mahsa (Jina) Amini in custody of morality police last September for “improper hijab” sparked nationwide protests.

The unrest gradually subsided after several months but defiance of hijab as a form of civil disobedience has increased and forced the authorities to try to stop the anti-compulsory hijab movement by resorting to various measures including new laws which center around cash fines.

Parliament speaker Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf (Qalibaf) said after the vote that giving the bill a single urgency did not indicate its insignificance and was only meant to provide more time for investigation.

“We want to stop [moral] depravity with this law,” he said and argued that the proposed bill has only looked at the criminal aspect of the hijab issue but that it was more a “cultural, social, and Sharia issue” and “a factor in the identity of the Islamic Republic”.

Soon after taking office in August 2021, and after weeks of harsher measures on the streets to enforce hijab rules by street patrols known as the ‘Hijab Police’, Raisi ordered all government entities to strictly implement the already existing “chastity and hijab” law.

The hijab required in the Islamic Republic consists of a long and loose dress in muted colors worn over trousers with a similarly plain headscarf that covers all hair and shoulders. Authorities including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei say wearing a long black veil (chador in Persian) that covers from head to toe is the ‘optimal hijab’.

Source » iranintl