On Wednesday 20 September, coinciding with the anniversary of the Iranian uprising that began last September following the tragic death of young Mahsa Amini for not fully covering her hair, the Iranian regime’s parliament approved the new hijab law. The new ‘hijab and chastity bill’ imposes stricter regulations on women, exacerbating limitations on their freedoms and restricting their rights. However, the new draconian law will not change the will and determination of the Iranian women in their quest for change to bring down the misogynist regime.
New hijab law
The new legislation imposes even harsher punishments for women. According to this law:
“[Offenders and anyone who] promotes or advertises immodesty, indecency and removal of the hijab will face up to 5 to 10 years in prison, fines up to $3,000, employment prohibition and a ban on leaving the country.”
Even mocking or ridiculing the hijab can result in a fine of over $1,000 and a two-year travel ban. When, according to the regime’s parliament, 75% of people live in poverty, such heavy fines are nothing but extorting money from people. The law extends its control over public places, including all workplaces, taxis, people’s vehicles and everywhere else, and over the internet and online activities, including foreign media, and warns people against any deviation.
A new centre, the Coordination and Supervision Centre for the Execution of the Chastity and Hijab Act, will be established to enforce this law.
“The military, law enforcement forces, and broadcasting services must cooperate with this centre. The Ministry of Intelligence and Security and the IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp] are required to monitor crimes related to promiscuity, indecency, unveiling, and immodesty, including identifying individuals promoting such activities and providing evidence to the judicial authority.”
Draconian law coincides with Iranian regime president’s UN visit
The regime’s parliament has passed the new draconian law at a time when the regime’s president is attending the UN. One might wonder why the regime chose this timing, knowing it would provoke international outrage. The truth is that the regime’s primary concern is its survival, with everything else fading into secondary importance. The regime finds itself weakest and cannot resolve its crises. The suppression of women is the mechanism to clamp down, exert control on society, and prevent the next uprising.
But the question that Iranians ask is why President Ebrahim Raisi, known as ‘Butcher of Evin’, is invited to the UN. Raisi was involved in the massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners in Iran in the summer of 1988. He was a member of Tehran’s ‘Death Commission’, which oversaw the massacre. Instead of being allowed to stand before the UN security council, Raisi must be held accountable for committing crimes against humanity.
Time for the West to change its policy towards Iran
The Western policy of appeasement towards Iran’s misogynist regime has emboldened the regime to expand its oppressive practices beyond Iranian borders, reaching Western countries as well. This is evidenced by the introducing of the new hijab law, which imposes penalties on regime opponents abroad, even for speaking on foreign media platforms against hijab.
When the Biden administration provides $6bn of the Iranian people’s assets to the regime, it only aids the bloodthirsty regime in its efforts to suppress and execute young protesters in Iran.
It is time for the West to change this counterproductive policy and stand on the side of the Iranian people and their aspirations for a free and democratic Iran. The first and foremost step for Western governments is to proscribe the suppressive forces of the IRGC on the terrorism list and deny it the funds it needs to suppress the Iranian people. In Britain, the government’s failure to proscribe the IRGC while targeting other groups like Wagner demonstrates a double standard, particularly when the head of MI5 confirms the terrorist threats posed by the IRGC to the UK.
Brave Iranian women have lost their eyes
The website for the National Council of Resistance of Iran contains stories and images of some of the many women who have stood up to the regime, often resulting in the loss of their eyes. Their unwavering vision for a brighter future propels them forward, undeterred by any obstacles in their path. Most of these images are too graphic for us to show here, but readers may wish to visit the site to read more about what is happening to women in Iran.
This is Niloufar Aghaii who is a midwife. Last October she was shot in the eye during the doctors’ protest in Tehran, outside the Medical Organisation building. Despite her injuries she continues to work, spreading hope with a smile on her face.
How can the international community help?
The Iranian people, led by women, are determined to overthrow the misogynist regime despite brutal suppression. Nothing, including the new tyrannical hijab law, can deter their will to fight for a free and equal society. Nevertheless, the international community holds a crucial responsibility. Mere verbal condemnations of the regime’s atrocities, while the prevailing policy remains appeasement, fall short of aiding the Iranian people. They are in dire need of concrete support. How can the international community effectively provide this assistance?
The answer was echoed by Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), who addressed a rally in Brussels on 15 September where thousands of Iranians gathered to mark the anniversary of the uprising. She called on Western governments to abandon their policy of appeasement towards Iran and adopt the correct policy by:
- Declaring the IRGC as a terrorist organisation
- Recognising the Iranian people’s right to defend themselves against the IRGC and other suppressive forces
- Reactivating the UN security council’s six resolutions against the Iranian regime
- Referring the dossier of human rights violations in Iran to the UN security council
- Prosecuting the regime leaders for four decades of genocide and crimes against humanity
- Placing the clerical regime under chapter VIl of the UN charter as a threat to world peace and security.