Just over a year since the brutal death of Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old who was beaten on the head by Iran’s “morality police” for wearing her hijab “incorrectly”, the country has issued stricter measures to reinforce its mandatory dress code. Iran’s parliament has passed what’s being called a new “hijab and chastity” bill, which will target and hand out punishment for people who violate its dress code. The punishments in question can range from financial penalties, to “fourth degree punishment”, meaning 10 years in prison in the case of any individual who violates the dress code repeatedly (ie. more than four times).
According to the latest version of the legislation, Iran’s dress code for women prohibits “revealing or tight clothing, or clothing that shows parts of the body lower than the neck or above the ankles or above the forearms”. As for men, there can be no “revealing clothing that shows parts of the body lower than the chest or above the ankles, or shoulders”. The country’s officials have also promised to identify and punish people who “promote nudity [or] indecency” or “mock” the new rules.
Instead of the parliament, it was a selection of 10 lawmakers who approved a three-year trial on the legislation (152 voted in favor, 34 went against, and seven chose neither end of the spectrum), but the final say on whether the new bill will be implemented or not sits with the Iranian Guardian Council.
Along with individuals, businesses and business owners will also be monitored and punished with fines, bans from leaving the country, or prison time if they are found to be promoting “nudity, lack of chastity or bad covering”. Government officials, law enforcement and military organizations have also been alerted to ensure all staff follow the dress codes themselves and identify violators.
When Mahsa Amini lost her life on September 16, the outcry among Iranians across the globe was palpable, and it wasn’t long before public figures around the world, from Meghan Markle and Bella Hadid, to Her Imperial Majesty Empress Farah Pahlavi, Golshifteh Farahani spoke out in support for Iranian women everywhere. Despite a year of fighting, the new bill comes as not just a disheartening development, but a truly terrifying one. According to members of the UN, Iran’s new bill is a “tantamount to gender apartheid” that needs to be addressed urgently. In the haunting words of Iranian human rights lawyer Hossein Raeesi, “By approving this bill, the Islamic Republic’s parliament has put a massive lock on the bodies of Iranian women. Iran was already an open prison for the women of Iran, but now they’ve extended the brutality with which they will crack down on women by giving serious powers to those implementing it on the streets.”