Iran places cameras in public places to identify and punish non-veiled women

(Reuters) – In another effort to rein in growing numbers of women defying compulsory dress codes, Iranian authorities have decided to install cameras in public places and streets to identify and punish non-veiled women, police said Saturday.

After being identified, offenders will receive “warning text messages about the consequences,” police said in a statement.

The statement, carried by the judiciary-affiliated Mizan news agency and other state media, said the move aims to “prevent resistance to the veil law,” adding that such resistance pollutes the country’s spiritual image and spreads insecurity.

An increasing number of Iranian women have given up the headscarf since the death of a 22-year-old Kurdish woman in the custody of the morality police last September. Mahsa Amini has been arrested for violating the veil rule. Security forces violently suppressed the rebellion.

Yet, at the risk of arrest for violating the mandatory dress code, women still appear widely in malls, restaurants, stores, and streets across the country. Videos of uncovered women resisting the morality police went viral on social media.

The police statement issued on Saturday called on business owners to “diligently monitor their observance of societal norms through their diligent inspections”.

Under Iranian Islamic law, imposed after the 1979 revolution, women are required to cover their hair and wear long, loose clothing to hide their figures. Violators faced a public reprimand, fines, or arrest.

The Interior Ministry statement called the veil “one of the civilized pillars of the Iranian nation” and “one of the practical principles of the Islamic Republic,” and said in a March 30 statement that there would be no retraction in this regard.

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He urged citizens to confront non-veiled women. Such directives in past decades have encouraged militants to attack women. Last week, a viral video showed a man throwing yogurt at two uncovered women in a store.

[email protected] Editing by Frances Kerry

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