Iranian reformers call for an end to compulsory veiling

Iran’s main reform party on Saturday urged the state to rescind the veil requirement after the death of a young woman in police custody sparked protests across the country.

According to a law in force in the country since 1983, women, Iranian and foreign and whatever their religion, must go out with their heads veiled and their bodies covered with a loose garment of varying length.

Put an end to the obligation of the hijab

Mahsa Amini, 22, was arrested on September 13 in Tehran for “wearing inappropriate clothes” by the morality police, responsible for enforcing the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code. She died three days later in hospital.

The People’s Union of Islamic Iran, formed by relatives of former reformist President Mohammad Khatami (1997-2005), said it “demands” from the authorities that they “prepare the legal elements paving the way for the ‘cancellation of the compulsory hijab law,’ according to a statement released on Saturday.

End of the morality police

This formation, which is not in power, also demands that the Islamic Republic announce “officially the end of the activities of the morality police” and “authorize peaceful demonstrations”, adds the text. The party also called for the formation of an “impartial” commission of inquiry into the death of Mahsa Amini and for the “immediate release of those recently arrested”.

The death of the young woman sparked nightly protests in major cities in Iran in which at least 35 people were killed, according to an official report. Several hundred demonstrators were also arrested. Only in the province of Guilan (north), “739 rioters including 60 women” were arrested, said its police chief, according to the Tasnim news agency, speaking of the protesters.

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