In a stark illustration of Iran’s stringent enforcement of its dress code, an Iranian woman, Roya Heshmati, faced a harrowing punishment of 74 lashes for what authorities deemed a breach of public morals. The judiciary’s Mizan Online website clarified that Heshmati’s alleged offense centered on her public appearance without adhering to the mandated headscarf and neck covering—a requirement in the country since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
The incident, rare in its severity, highlights the escalating measures taken against those challenging Iran’s dress code. Mizan Online stated that Heshmati, accused of encouraging permissiveness by her appearance in crowded Tehran locations, faced the punitive lashings “carried out by the law and with sharia” as a penalty for “violating public morals.”
Heshmati, identified as a 33-year-old woman of Kurdish descent by the Kurdish-focused rights group Hengaw, was reportedly apprehended in April for sharing a photo on social media without wearing a headscarf. Her lawyer, Maziar Tatai, detailed that along with the 74 lashes, she was ordered to pay a fine of 12 million rials (approximately $25) for her non-compliance with the Islamic Republic’s dress code.
This incident follows a surge in defiance against the dress code that gained momentum during anti-government protests originating in late 2022. The catalyst for these demonstrations was the tragic death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd, initially arrested for an alleged dress code violation. The response to Amini’s death saw female protestors discarding their headscarves and, in some cases, publicly burning them, triggering heightened scrutiny and crackdowns by authorities.
Iranian officials have ramped up measures to monitor and penalize violations, including the installation of surveillance cameras in public spaces and the closure of businesses found in breach of the stringent dress code regulations. Moreover, Iran’s parliament has entertained discussions regarding a proposed bill that would amplify penalties for individuals infringing upon the dress code.
The severity of Heshmati’s punishment underscores the intensifying crackdown on those daring to challenge Iran’s mandated dress standards, signaling a steadfast adherence to traditional codes of conduct within the country despite growing dissent and calls for reform.
Sources By Agencies