Plainclothes Agents Reportedly Enforcing Hijab Law In Tehran

Plainclothes security agents are reportedly appearing in public spaces throughout the Iranian capital of Tehran, warning women to observe the mandatory hijab law amid a wave of defiance against the dress code following the death of a young woman while in police custody for an alleged head scarf offense.

According to eyewitness accounts, groups of women and men dressed according to the Islamic republic's standards were seen in various parts of central Tehran advising women on the necessity of observing the mandatory hijab law, which requires women to cover their hair and wear modest clothing. People in the Tehran City Theater complex also reported similar sightings on the same day.

Images circulated on social media on April 27 of agents entering the Mega Mall shopping center in Tehran’s western neighborhood of Ekbatan, where they looked to enforce the mandatory dress code.

The increased presence of government-affiliated individuals enforcing the hijab law comes as daily images are published of women in different cities and age groups appearing in public and crowded spaces without head scarves.

Recent videos from music concerts also have shown disputes over the hijab, where the majority of women are often not wearing the mandatory hijab. In response to this defiance, an unspecified number of commercial establishments, including music clubs and restaurants, in Tehran and other cities have been sealed shut due to noncompliance with the hijab law.


The death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in September prompted thousands of women and girls to take to the streets to protest against the government's interference in their daily lives. Many have taken their hijabs and burned them in a sign of protest in what is one of the stiffest challenges to the Islamic leadership since the 1979 revolution.

The resurgence of "verbal warnings" to women comes as officials say they will use "smart tools" to enforce the rules while trying to prevent "tensions" and "harassment." Police reportedly started using closed-circuit cameras and smart systems in cities to identify women without the mandatory hijab earlier this month.

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.

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.

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