The head of Iran’s judiciary has again threatened to punish women and girls who don’t abide to mandatory hijab rules, claiming that some of them cooperate foreign spy services.
In a speech on April 6, chief justice Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei warned that measures will be implemented to "tackle social deviance."
However, he underscored "the importance of distinguishing between those who are unaware of hijab regulations and those who collude with foreign spy agencies in this regard."
In Iran, all women and girls over the age of 9 to conceal their hair with a headscarf while in public and wear loose fitting trousers under their coats.
But a growing number of women and girls have appeared in public without hijab since a young woman, Mahsa Amini, died in police custody in September 2022, sparking nationwide protests demanding fundamental economic, social and political changes. Amini had been arrested for allegedly wearing hijab improperly.
The authorities have repeatedly warned them to respect the Islamic Republic’s dress codes and threatened to punish violators. Some defiant women were arrested or summoned by the authorities, while many businesses were shut down due to the failure of owners or managers to observe hijab rules.
"The majority of Iranians are religious, and even those who may not have deep religious convictions are still highly respectful of social norms and averse to disobedience," Mohseni-Ejei said.
His first deputy, Mohammad Mosadegh, said at the same meeting that the judicial will "deal seriously with the troublemakers and norm-breakers who cooperate with spy services in promoting bad hijab in Iran."
Earlier this week, the leader of the Islamic Republic, Ali Khamenei, accused foreign intelligence agencies of inciting Iranian women not to wear hijab.
He also attributed the nationwide protests to Western spy agencies, without providing any evidence to support his claim.