President Ebrahim Raisi said on Saturday that the hijab is the law in Iran after a viral video of a man throwing yogurt at two women was revealed in a shop near the Shia Muslim holy city.
A growing number of women have defied the authorities by shedding their veils following protests across the country following the death of a 22-year-old Kurdish woman from Iran in the custody of the morality police for allegedly breaking rules hijab. The uprising was violently suppressed by security forces.
Judicial authorities in a town near the northeastern city of Mashhad issued arrest warrants for the man who was seen pouring yogurt over the heads of the two women, a mother and her daughter, according to Reuters. They were also the subject of arrest warrants for violating Iran’s strict dress code for women, state media reported.
At risk of arrest for violating the mandatory dress code, women are still widely seen exposing themselves in malls, restaurants, shops and streets across the country. Videos of exposed women resisting the morality police have flooded social media.
In a live statement on state television, Raisi said: “If some people say they don’t believe (in the hijab)… it’s good to use persuasion… But the important point is that there is a legal requirement… and today the hijab is its subject law.”
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Authorities said the owner of the dairy shop was alerted, who tackled the attacker. Reports on social media indicated that his shop was closed, although a local news agency stated that he had been allowed to reopen and that it was due to “giving explanations” to the court.
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Judiciary chief Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei earlier threatened to publicly expose the “merciless” prosecution of women, Iranian media reported.
“Exposure is an affront to (our) values,” several news sites quoted Ejei as saying.
Under Iran’s Islamic sharia law, imposed after the 1979 revolution, women are required to cover their hair and wear long, loose clothing to hide their figures. Violators face public charges, fines or arrest.
Describing the veil as “one of the foundations of the civilization of the Iranian nation” and “one of the practical principles of the Islamic Republic,” a statement from the Interior Ministry said on Thursday that there would be no “recession or concession” on the issue.
He encouraged citizens to confront exposed women. Over the past twenty or thirty years these instructions have been strong enough for hardliners to attack women with impunity.