Iran’s Supreme Leader claimed Wednesday that the anti-hijab movement is nothing but a Western plot, much like his depiction of all problems as plots by enemies.
Ali Khamenei claimed that wearing the hijab is no impediment to Iranian women’s progress and accused the West of fueling the recent opposition to hijab to harm the regime.
In a speech to a gathering of prayer leaders from across the country on Wednesday, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said in his view the Islamic Republic does not need to defend itself about issues related to women including the hijab but should rather be aggressive and attack the West for turning women into a “commodity”.
Iran’s government which is now fully controlled by hardliners has adopted a harsher than usual approach amid economic crisis and hardship for tens of millions. Government and military officials have warned the population against disobeying hijab rules and the morality police hijab enforcement patrols have detained many women, sometimes violently, on the streets.
Several activists and many ordinary citizens have been arrested for their defiance of the hijab rules in July. On several occasions the members of public have interfered when morality police and hijab enforcers tried to detain women for not wearing what the authorities consider as “proper hijab” and freed them.
The Iranian leader claimed that observing the hijab has not prevented Iranian woman from great achievements in various fields despite Western countries’ arguments that women cannot progress “unless they free themselves of ethical and religious bonds.”
Clerics raising their fists in sign of support for Khamenei's statements. July 27, 2022
He also alleged that “the enemy”, which he said is “led by Zionists and capitalists”, is constantly plotting to harm the Islamic Republic in the “battlefield of soft power” and seeks to destroy people’s faith by fostering doubt in their minds about issues such as the role of women in the Islamic society and women’s hijab.
Referring to discussions over the issue of hijab in Friday prayers, the media, and social media, Khamenei said everyone should act “very gracefully, logically and wihtout from unnecessary emotions” on the issue of hijab and use clear reasoning “to expose the western colonialist attitude” in rejection of hijab.
On Wednesday some hardline and state-affiliated media published a video of the so-called “confessions”of an anti-hijab protester who was arrested because of a confrontation with a hijab enforcer in a city bus in which the two women are shown speaking about the incident and “the lies” of the anti-hijab activists. The anti-hijab protester then begs “forgiveness” for picking a quarrel with the hijab enforcer and the two of them embrace each other and make peace.
The woman identified as 28-year-old writer Sepideh Rashno was arrested soon after the encounter on the bus. An informed source told Iran International that the woman seen in the “confession” video is not Rashno as hardline media such as Hamshahri have claimed but another woman who also was involved in the fight over hijab on the bus.
Rashno has reportedly been in detention at the IRGC ward of Tehran’s Evin Prison since her arrest last week without any contact with her family or access to a lawyer. Authorities have told the family that Rashno’s case is being investigated by the prosecutors of Evin.
Authorities have even started policing the compulsory Islamic dress code – or hijab – on the tombstones of the country’s largest cemetery, located in the southern part of the capital Tehran, and removed about 100 gravestones which had pictures of deceased women without veils.