By Kayhan Life Staff
Iran is to resume the “monitoring Plan 1,” originally rolled out in 2020, by which police send warning text messages to alleged hijab violators’ mobile phones, according to Mehdi Hajian, the spokesperson for the Law Enforcement Command of the Islamic Republic of Iran (FARAJA).
Mr. Hajian made the comments in an interview with the semi-official Fars news agency on Jan. 8.
“As we had said previously, police operate within the law. Police enforce laws ratified by lawmakers,” Hajian said. “We believe that observing hijab is a legal and religious issue. The law has been passed and will be reaffirmed by higher institutions which will respond to all questions.”
“All text messages will be processed through the ‘monitoring plan 1’ website, which was previously active and is back in operation again,” Hajian explained. “Police are duty-bound to enforce this law in line with Article 638 of the Islamic Republic Penal Code.”
“Under Article 638, observing the religious hijab is mandatory. Failure to uphold this law is an offense,” he added. “Higher institutions must decide how to proceed with its implementation.”
The renewed crackdown on alleged violators of the hijab law follows months of intense national protest sparked by the death of Mahsa (Zhina) Amini, a 22-year-old woman who died in the custody of the morality police on Sept. 16 in Tehran. The police alleged that Ms. Amini had breached the hijab law. The ongoing unrest has morphed into a revolutionary movement calling for regime change in Iran.
Despite international condemnation of the brutal crackdown on protesters, the Islamic Republic regime, and the hardline government of President Raisi, have doubled down on their efforts to restrict women’s civil rights and freedom. They are reverting to heavy-handed tactics used by the “Revolutionary Committees” and Islamic fundamentalists in 1980 to enforce a restrictive dress code and punish hijab violators.
Since coming to office, Mr. Raisi’s government has ordered the police to enforce mandatory hijab aggressively, promoted child marriages, banned female spectators from football matches, and withheld all legal, psychological, and financial support from domestic abuse and rape victims.
On July 6, 2019, the head of Tehran’s “Prosecutor’s Office for Guidance,” Mohammad Mehdi Haji-Mohammadi, said his office had launched an official channel (@dadresa_ershad), available on various messaging platforms including Telegram, where “concerned citizens” could report any incidents involving “immoral behavior” and violations of the mandatory hijab.
In comments reported by the Tehran-based Tasnim news agency, Mr. Haj-Mohammadi said: “The measure provides a platform for concerned citizens to report any moral indiscretion and hijab violations.”
Mr. Mohammadi called on “concerned citizens in Greater Tehran” to be vigilant and report hijab violations, inappropriate behavior in vehicles, and actions threatening the “sanctity of the family institution,” Tasnim reported. Haj-Mohammadi urged citizens to report any “immoral behavior,” including dancing and serving and consuming alcohol in cars, restaurants, cafes, and other public places.
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He called on the public to report incidents of “moral corruption,” including parties and prostitution, by calling the telephone number 09054309484 or sending texts to domestic messaging apps Bale, Soroush, Eitan, and others, Tasnim’s report added.
Soroush is owned by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB).
A year later, the deputy commander of the Law Enforcement Forces, Brigadier General Ghasem Rezaei, unveiled “Monitoring Plans 1 and 2” to crack down on hijab breaches in cars, shops, and public venues.
Under the plans, “first-time offenders will receive a warning text on their mobile phones.” The Guidance Patrol (Morality Police) summons anyone who violates the mandatory hijab for the second time. They will be “required to sign a document, promising not to violate mandatory hijab.” Those breaking the law for the third time “will face legal proceedings.”
It was unclear which branch of the Law Enforcement Forces was to text drivers and passengers of cars who allegedly violated the hijab law.
“Law enforcement and traffic police did not send any text messages,” the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported in September 2020, quoting police sources. “The morality police sent those texts whose duty is to enforce this law.”
Tehran’s chief of police, Brigadier General Hossein Rahimi, also tried to clarify the situation.
“Police are duty-bound to deal with any offenses,” General Rahimi said. “Police officers identify and deal with cars whose [drivers and passengers] violate the hijab law.”
Notably, a day after Mehdi Hajian’s announcement, the commander of FARAJA, Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Radan, removed Brigadier General Hossein Rahimi as Tehran’s police chief, replacing him with Brigadier General Abbasali Mohammadian. General Mohammadian was the former police chief of the northern province of Alborz and the head of Tehran’s detective bureau.
In July 2022, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi ordered the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution to enforce the “Hijab and Chastity Law,” the state media reported.
“Regarding hijab and chastity, we urge the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution and other institutions to enforce the law passed by the Majlis (Iranian Parliament), and the law passed by the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution in 2005,” the Tehran-based Entekhab newspaper quoted President Raisi saying.
It is noteworthy that the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution, which adopted the “Hijab and Chastity” measure in 2005, is not a legislative body and cannot pass any laws.
The Majlis debates and passes government bills that the Guardian Council must subsequently ratify before they become law.