Iranian authorities will prosecute the individual who sent a video to Iran International TV depicting a scuffle over hijab at a clinic, leading to widespread outrage on social media.

The video went viral in Iran on Saturday depicting a tense encounter between a young woman and a cleric who is filming her holding her baby while her hijab is loose in a clinic in the religious city of Qom.

Iran’s clerical rulers encourage everyone to confront women with insufficient hijab and urge them to abide by the law. Reporting on others is also encouraged and there have been instances of people filming women to send it to the authorities for legal action.

The incident escalated into a brawl when the young woman noticed the cleric filming her. Other women in the hospital intervened and asked the cleric to delete his video in fear that it would lead to further problems for the mother.

The footage captured the young mother in the clinic with her sick infant. Shortly after entering, her headscarf slips off.

Hassan Gharib, the prosecutor of the religious city of Qom, said Sunday that an order to identify and prosecute the person who leaked the CCTV footage to Iran International has been issued. However, he clarified that no arrests have been made in connection with the incident.

Hassan Gharib, the prosecutor of the religious city of Qom

Gharib emphasized the importance of adhering to the religious duty of urging others to abstain from forbidden acts and uphold religious principles. “In any case, we will decisively, fairly, and speedily investigate the matter.”

Typically, rather than prosecuting people who bother others over hijab, authorities often target and punish victims, as well as individuals who share photos and videos with foreign-based Persian media outlets that tarnish the image of the regime, its officials, or clerics.

In September, 29-year-old Elham Farshad who had a verbal encounter with a cleric harassing her over hijab was sentenced to three years and eight months in prison after a video of the incident was leaked on social media.

“It is necessary to point out that the error of the person who sent the video to anti-revolutionary media should not be overlooked. This calls for intelligence work and action that will teach [such people] a lesson,” the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) linked Fars News Agency wrote Sunday.

At a press briefing Sunday most of which was related to the controversies over legislation and enforcement of hijab, President Ebrahim Raisi’s aide, Sakineh-Sadat Pad, said she had seen the video and would follow up on the matter.

Pad characterized the actions of both the woman and the cleric as "aggressive" and their behavior as "disagreeable." While acknowledging the understandable concern of the young mother for her sick child, Pad did not explicitly condemn the cleric's infringement upon the woman's privacy and rights. She emphasized the need for further investigation into the matter.

The footage obtained by Iran International (IITV) from the clinic's CCTV captures the young woman seated against the wall in a secluded area, cradling her sick baby in her arms. Her hijab has slipped down over her shoulders. In the background, the cleric covertly uses his mobile device to capture pictures or video of the woman, presumably to document her violation of hijab regulations.

Upon realizing the cleric's actions, the woman swiftly passes her baby to someone nearby and confronts the cleric, demanding to inspect his phone to delete the recorded footage. The cleric refuses, escalating the situation into a physical altercation as bystanders intervene.

The cleric flees the scene, and the woman is taken away from by the clinic staff after having a nervous fit. The identities of the cleric and the woman are not known.

Some Twitterati have commented that the incident is evidence of the opposition to compulsory hijab and shows that the Islamic Republic has failed in enforcing it even in Qom, Iran's second religious city and the seat of most of its seminaries.

Most hardliner social media users have blamed the woman for failing to comply with hijab rules and then arguing with the cleric and charging to attack him. They justify the cleric’s actions by arguing that his intention was pure, and he only wanted to carry out his religious duty.

Some hardline, pro-government social media users have called the young mother “rowdy” or “a shrew”. Those against the compulsory hijab, however, have created several hashtags in support of the young mother such as “We Are All Rowdy/Shrews”.

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