An Iranian lawmaker says women are outraged over lawmakers' proposal to directly deduct cash fines from their bank accounts for disregarding hijab rules.

Reformist lawmaker Mohammad-Sadegh Javadihesar strongly criticizes members of parliament for introducing the plan to deduct hijab fines only after the elections, labeling their behavior as "most heinous and despicable." He asserts that such decisions have the potential to "ignite chaos in society."

Javadihesar condemns the timing of the proposal when most people are angry because of runaway inflation, suggesting that it reflects a lack of rationality within the system. He warns that failure to address such actions may deepen the rift between the government and the people, increasing the likelihood of social unrest.

Drawing parallels, Javadihesar likens the lawmakers' proposed measure to the fuel price hikes in 2019, which triggered widespread protests across the country. He emphasizes that the government's harsh crackdown on protesters resulted in numerous casualties, highlighting the potential consequences of implementing similar controversial policies.

In November 2019, security forces killed at least 1,500 citizens after nationwide protests broke out when the government suddenly doubled the gasoline price.

“If there is still any rationality left in the system, it will deal with such behavior, otherwise, the conflict between the government and the nation will deepen and the possibility of certain social conflicts will not be small,” Javadihesar, spokesman of Etemad Melli Party, told Rouydad 24 news website on Monday.

Lawmaker Mohammad-Sadegh Javadihesar

Amir-Hossein Bankipour, a member of the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution and re-elected lawmaker, said in an interview broadcast by the state-run television (IRIB) last week that a cash fine of 30 million rials (around $50) is to be deducted from the accounts of those who fail to observe the mandatory hijab.

Bankipour clarified that the deduction of funds would proceed without the account holders' consent, potentially resulting in overdrafts if insufficient funds are available. He noted that under the proposed legislation, repeat offenders would face legal action through the courts.

Negahdari echoed Bankipour's remarks on Sunday, affirming that the Parliament has opted to replace direct cash fines for moral policing incidents related to hijab. This decision aims to prevent social conflicts stemming from confrontations with morality police, which have led to the circulation of "disparaging images" in society.

Since March 2023, hardliners have attempted to end women's increasing defiance of compulsory hijab and reclaim lost ground through various instructions to government bodies, but their efforts seem to have hugely backfired as the number of women who refuse to abide by the current rules has very noticeably increased since the Woman, Life, Freedom protests of 2022-2023.

In a recent speech to a group of self-styled protectors of public morality, a top Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) commander, Aziz Jafari, told them the municipality of Tehran is to cooperate with them in resuming their operations at metro stations. “By expanding our activities, we want to put an end to the unveiling sedition,” he told the organized vigilantes.

Jafari delivered his speech a week after the elections of parliament and Assembly of Experts before and during which authorities had put the activities of organized vigilantes on hold, presumably not to anger potential voters who were already inclined to boycott the elections. Some officials even assured women that they could turn up at polling stations without fear of getting into trouble for hijab.

The proposed measure against hijab offenders is an amendment to a controversial bill, generally referred to as the “Hijab and chastity bill”, that the parliament approved in June 2023.

The constitutional watchdog, the Guardian Council, however, rejected the bill in October and sent it back to parliament for amendment and removal of verbal ambiguities.

Experts said at the time, that rejection of the bill was mainly for formal issues and had nothing to do with people’s objection to its provisions.

Hardliners in the parliament are confident that the bill will be endorsed by the Council soon and can be implemented by early April.

More News