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Iran: Women with inappropriate clothing will be prevented from travelling

Source: Change for Equality

January 2012

According to a report published by the governmental Mehr News Agency, the head of the Airport Police, who had participated in a press conference with reporters, discussed stricter regulations with respect to women’s dress at Iran’s airports.

According to the Mehr report, during this press conference, Commander Heydari explained that the police will take action against women who wear short overcoats or[long] t-shirts [instead of the overcoats] when at the airport and will prevent them from traveling. According to Heydari, men wearing tight fitting t-shirts, t-shirts with writings on them or t-shirts which show poor taste, will also be prevented from travel.

Morality Police

It should be noted that the observance of Hejab (veiling) by women in the Islamic Republic of Iran is mandatory, however there is no clear legal definition of what constitutes appropriate hejab or covering. Nonetheless, since the hejab became mandatory following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iranian women have had to contend with the morality police, charged with arresting women for poor observance of the hejab. The determination of poor hejab is arbitrary and decided upon on a case-by-case basis and by the individual morality policeman or policewoman.

In his first term (2005-2009) Ahmadinejad reinstated the morality police (which had been largely halted during Khatami’s two term (8years) presidency). The reinstatement of the morality police was implemented under the guise of the Social Safety Program. While professing to work to ensure the safety of citizens on a wide range of issues, the Social Safety Program focused predominantly on arresting women for inappropriate or poor observance of the hejab.

Women are targetted on the streets

The Social Safety program was reinvigorated in 2010, and women are being targeted and arrested on the streets in unprecedented numbers ever since. According to official figures over 70,000 police have been assigned the ironic task of ensuring the Social Safety of the public through enforcing strict veiling codes and arresting scores of women deemed to be dressed inappropriately!

The pictures below, depicting women "poorly covered" or women being arrested for "inappropriate veiling" have been taken from conservative government or quasi governmental news sites and news agencies and are largely from summer 2011.

Women in Iran being arrested for wearing inappropriate clothing

Women arrested for inappropriate clothing

Women arrested for inappropriate clothing

Women in Iran being arrested for wearing inappropriate clothing