The so-called morality police have started patrolling medical and academic centers in Iran’s northeastern city of Mashhad to enforce compliance with the Islamic dress code (hijab). 

In a statement on Thursday, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences confirmed the presence of hijab police and teams from what the Islamic Republic calls the ‘Enjoining right and forbidding vice headquarters’ in hospitals to inspect the dress codes of the personnel and interns in medical centers.

Social media users earlier reported the presence of such teams in various wards of hospitals and medical centers, with some reports of pressures on hospitals to separate male and female patients admitted to the ICU.

Esmail Rahmani, deputy public prosecutor of the religious city of Mashhad has recently ordered the municipality to prevent ‘bad-hijab’ women from using public transportation including the metro and threatened to take legal action against such officials for failing to do so. He has also ordered the governor to ban services in banks and government offices to ‘bad-hijab’ women.

Iran’s hardliner president has recently ordered all government entities to strictly implement a “chastity and hijab” law after weeks of stricter measures on the streets.

Harsher than usual enforcement of hijab this summer has raised protests from many in Iran including some moderate religious and political figures.

No one knows if the enforcement of strict religious rules is related to the authorities attempt to show force, but some citizens see the effort as a scheme to pit people against one another.

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