In the News: Iran Claims to Soften Dress Code for Women

Tehran Police Say Women Will No Longer Be Arrested For Violating ‘Islamic’ Dress Code, Hayley Miller, Huffington Post Canada, 2017-12-28.

Police in Iran’s capital are loosening up restrictions regarding dress code after decades of pushback from women in the country.

On Wednesday, Tehran police announced that women will no longer risk arrest for breaching the country’s conservative interpretation of Islamic dress code, which includes a ban on wearing nail polish, heavy makeup or loose headscarves. Instead, violators will be ordered to take police-instructed classes on “Islamic values,” while repeat offenders could still be subject to legal action, reported the Wall Street Journal.

“Based on a society-oriented, educational approach, the police will not arrest those who don’t respect Islamic values,” said Brig. Gen. Hossein Rahimi, according to the country’s official Islamic Republic News Agency. “It will instead educate them.”

For decades, Iranian women have been resisting a government ruling passed in the wake of the 1979 Iranian Revolution that required women to wear headscarves in public. Iranian millennials have been especially defiant of the policy through social media protests and street marches.

The title of the article above, “Women Will No Longer Be Arrested For Violating ‘Islamic’ Dress Code”, is misleading. As the body of article explains, first offenders will no longer be arrested. However, repeat offenders still risk arrest and prosecution. Even for a first offense, the woman will be subjected to re-education classes in “Islamic values.” This is hardly an important victory; rather it is a very minor softening of the government’s policy.

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