Reports Say Confrontations Between Iranian Students, Security Forces Growing Over Hijab Rules

Confrontations between university students and authorities over mandatory hijab regulations are reportedly on the rise following a monthslong crackdown over protests sparked by the September death of Mahsa Amini while in police custody for an alleged head scarf offense.

Reports from several schools indicate incidents taking place, including the hospitalization of a female student and the mass expulsion of students from dormitories over their resistance to the mandatory hijab law.

Zahra Rahimi, a chemistry student at the University of Yazd, is reported to have been hospitalized after coming under severe pressure from the school during a disciplinary committee meeting, which included the president of the University of Yazd, Abbas Kalantari, allegedly insulting and slandering her.

Student associations say they hold Kalantari and the university responsible for the harm inflicted on Rahimi. During her transfer to the hospital, her friends were reportedly threatened by agents not to spread the news of the situation.

In another incident, several students from the social science faculty at the University of Tehran were deprived of their right to use dormitories following their protests against mandatory hijab regulations and strict security measures. Similar protests have occurred at other universities across the country, prompting increased scrutiny and crackdowns by authorities.

In addition, plainclothes forces have allegedly attacked and harassed students at the University of Isfahan's Art Faculty. They reportedly warned students about observing hijab law and rules prohibiting male and female students getting together in public gatherings. In some instances, security forces are said to have attacked students with pepper spray.

The hijab became mandatory in Iran shortly after the 1979 revolution, by order of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic republic. However, no law had been passed at that time restricting women's clothing in Iran.

Despite more than four decades of compulsory hijab enforcement under the Islamic republic, Iran has recently seen widespread and comprehensive protests condemning the compulsory hijab and demanding the overthrow of the Islamic republic system.

Following protests sparked by the death of the 22-year-old Amini last September, many women and girls in Iran have openly opposed the imposed dress code, appearing in public without a hijab.

Numerous protests have been held at universities, particularly in Tehran, where many students have refused to attend class. Protesting students have chanted "Woman, life, freedom" and "Death to the dictator" at the rallies, while some female students have removed and burned their head scarves.

Written by Ardeshir Tayebi based on an original story in Persian by RFE/RL's Radio Farda