Home Middle East Iran’s Politicians to Hold Secret Debate on Hijab Laws

Iran’s Politicians to Hold Secret Debate on Hijab Laws

Iranian lawmakers have decided to review a contentious hijab law in closed-door sessions, indicating that there might not be any open public discussions on the issue.

Iran's Politicians to Hold Secret Debate on Hijab Laws

The Iranian parliament has taken a significant step towards passing the controversial “Hijab and Chastity Bill,” a move that has sparked debate and concern both within and outside the country. The bill, if enacted, would introduce stricter punishments for women who do not wear the headscarf (hijab) in accordance with the country’s dress code.

The bill is a response to months of widespread protests triggered by the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who was arrested for allegedly not wearing her hijab correctly and subsequently died in police custody. The incident fueled outrage and led to mass demonstrations against the dress code laws.

The Iranian parliament’s recent vote allows for a three to five year trial of the bill. To become a permanent law, the country’s most powerful legislative body, the Council of Guardians, must approve it. The bill would allow parliament to modify the legislation during the trial period, leading to its potential permanence.

Article 85 of Iran’s constitution was invoked to advance the legislation, enabling a parliamentary committee to review bills without public debate. While 175 members of parliament voted in favor of the move, 49 voted against it.

Supporters argue that the bill is necessary to uphold traditional values and maintain the dress code as a symbol of chastity. However, opponents, including some MPs, express concern about the potential dangers associated with the legislation, particularly its focus on criminalizing and punishing hijab-related violations.

The hijab holds significant political and social symbolism in Iran. It represents both the ideology of the clerical establishment and a focal point for women’s resistance against enforced dress codes. Many women have been openly protesting the rules by wearing their headscarves incorrectly or refusing to wear them altogether.

The debate over the Hijab and Chastity Bill reflects broader tensions in Iranian society, where there is a struggle between conservative religious authorities seeking to maintain control and a younger generation pushing for social and cultural change. The ongoing protests and discussions underscore the complex and evolving nature of societal norms and individual rights in Iran.

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