Iran Daily: Supreme Leader — “Enemy” Is Behind Hijab Protests


Iran’s Supreme Leader has said there will be no easing of the mandatory hijab policy, claiming that protests by women over the compulsory head covering are being spurred by the “enemy”.

In an address purportedly exalting the place of women in the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khamenei referred to demonstrations that began in late December on Enqelab (Revolution) Street in Tehran and soon spread to other cities. Women have been standing on electrical junction boxes, waving their hijabs on the end of sticks.

Iranian authorities have seized scores of women, with 29 reportedly still in detention. Earlier this week, one detainee — named as Narges Hosseini — was sentenced to two years in prison.

The punishment was a sharp break from the normal practice of short prison terms and fines of about $25. Officials have also warned that anyone supporting the demonstrations will be imprisoned for up to 10 years.

See Iran Daily, March 8: 2 Years in Prison for Removing Hijab in Public

President Hassan Rouhani has suggested a more relaxed approach to compulsory hijab, but the Supreme Leader pointedly rejected this yesterday as he declared:

Despite all the funds, energy, and thoughts behind this plot, their efforts are futile. The mere result of their work might be a few girls here or there who are deceived, or for various motivations take off their headscarves. All of their efforts have minor effect, which are unimportant….

For 40 years enemies have plotted against Iran, spending billions to strike a blow to the Islamic Republic, but for 40 years this pure tree has been steadily growing, which makes us proud.

In an effective rebuke of Rouhani, Khamenei continued:

What makes me sensitive, is when an elite group talk of “compulsory hijab”.

This means that a number of the people — hopefully unknowingly–follow the same path that the enemies couldn’t achieve, despite all the spent expenses. Among them are also journalists, intellectuals and clerics.

14 Women Arrested During Rally

Meanwhile, security forces arrested 14 women during a rally marking International Women’s Day, held in front of the Labor Ministry in Tehran.

Security forces dispersed the demonstration, and reportedly also broke up gatherings elsewhere in the capital. Witnesses spoke of a large security presence with vans and guards at key points.

Meanwhile, Khamenei was pronouncing:

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  1. “The punishment was a sharp break from the normal practice of short prison terms and fines of about $25”

    And the reason is because this normally applies to women with bad hejab (poorly veiled). But these “girls of revolution street” aren’t simply not complying with the law, they are openly defying it and mocking hejab by putting the headscarf on a stick, That’s a totally different situation. Moreover, these “protests” are not a home-grown movement.

  2. “Today, according to the western model, the most sought after characteristics of a #woman involve her ability to physically attract men and appease them: one distinct image (portrayed in society) of the western woman is her nudity.”

    As an Iranian who has lived in the West for a long time, you can see a notable difference. Western society, media and culture encourages women to not just look nice (nothing wrong with that), but to flaunt their sexuality and get the most attention from men. This leads to many women losing confidence when comparing themselves to supermodels because they feel inadequate (self-rejection). They are encouraged to spend vast amounts of money on clothes and other items to beautify themselves. In Iran, despite hejab, women do spend a lot on make-up, and even the occassional nose-job, but Iranian women are free from the kinds of pressures placed upon western women by those who want to exploit their own insecurity.

    For those who insist the law of hejab violates a fundamental human right of freedom of choice, the fact is that all laws are made in the interests of society as a whole even if they restrict the freedom of the individual. That’s why we have mandatory seat-belts in cars, bans on smoking in certain public places, bans on drugs, child pornography, prostitution, laws against nudity and indecent exposure in public…etc.

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