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Iran’s parliament passed a bill Wednesday that will toughen already strict penalties for women flouting the compulsory wearing of the Islamic headscarf, despite months-long protests against the dress code, and criticism of the measure from both inside and outside the country, Radio Free Europe reported.
The draft law will grant powers to various intelligence agencies, police, paramilitary forces, and religious authorities to take action against women who do not adhere to the legal dress code.
According to the bill, women who violate the mandatory hijab law could face severe penalties, such as fines and imprisonment for up to 10 years.
The upcoming legislation also penalizes individuals who insult the hijab, promote immodesty or engage in activities that encourage these behaviors. Punishments include fines, travel bans and Internet activity restrictions.
At the same time, it calls for stricter gender segregation in various public spaces, including universities, administrative centers, and parks.
The compulsory hijab rule for women was instituted in 1981, triggering protests that were quickly suppressed by authorities. Many women have resisted the rule over the years.
Lawmakers passed the bill on Sep. 20, four days after the first anniversary of the death of Mahsa Amini, who died in the custody of Iran’s morality police for allegedly breaking the hijab rules.
Her death ignited widespread protests against the rule that saw tens of thousands of people demonstrate against Iran’s ruling clerics.
The government launched a crackdown against protesters and the recent bill reflects a tougher stance advocated by some officials and religious figures.
Despite signs of the protests waning, analysts cautioned that resistance to the hijab will continue, with many Iranians seeing the religious garment as a symbol of state repression.