Published: may 02, 2010; Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center.
Stricter enforcement of Islamic dress code ahead of summer season.
Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar has said this week that, this summer, the authorities intended to implement the Islamic dress code enforcement program in the country. This year, he said, the program will apply to men as well. Speaking at a convention of department directors of women’s affairs in Iran’s provinces, Najjar related that the Interior Ministry had created six teams to monitor the implementation, and that the program would first be put in effect in government organizations and ministries. Najjar noted that there were many ways to enforce the “veil culture”, including encouragement and instruction of young couples, a social and cultural campaign, and a war with the assistance of internal security forces on “gangs” which spread corruption in Iranian society. He further added that young clerics would also take part in the implementation of the program (various news agencies, April 25).
The “head cover and veil program” was approved as early as in 2005 by the High Council of the Cultural Revolution; however, it has yet to be fully implemented. The program assigned areas of responsibility to the various official institutions, including Iran Broadcasting, schools, and universities, to spread the “culture of the veil” in Iranian society.
Interior Minister Najjar’s statement was made on the backdrop of increasing criticism made in recent weeks by senior clerics and politicians of women’s failure to comply with the Islamic dress code of Iran, requiring them to wear veils. Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, the Friday prayer leader in Tehran, has voiced criticism over that issue this week, saying that women’s non-compliance with the Islamic dress code was one of the main reasons why corruption spread in Iranian society. He noted that the veil issue was no less important than the subsidy policy reform. The lack of adherence to the Islamic dress code reflected the “soft war” waged by Iran’s enemies, and it is the religious duty of the state authorities to implement a policy that would curb the spread of the phenomenon (ISNA, April 24). Science Minister Kamran Daneshjou has also claimed this week that compliance with Islamic dress code among university students was unsatisfactory, saying that his ministry had drawn up a plan to improve the situation (Tabnak, April 24).
Meanwhile, the ultra-conservative group Ansar Hezbollah has released an announcement this week calling on all state authorities to take strong action to impose the Islamic dress code. The announcement says that the enemies of Islam and the revolution take advantage of any opportunity to attack Islam and the Islamic regime, to compromise the principles of faith, and to spread corruption in Iranian society. According to the group, even after Ahmadinejad’s government came to power, no steps were taken to implement the national Islamic dress code enforcement program approved by the Supreme Leader, while the phenomenon of not wearing veils has increased in recent years and led to such negative consequences as an increase in divorce rate (Jahan News, April 25).
The issue of Islamic dress code enforcement comes up every year when summer season begins. In previous years, the authorities also announced their intention to step up enforcement activities in public places during the summer months. The enforcement of Islamic dress code has increased considerably since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad first entered office in 2004.