Iranian member of parliament criticizes new headscarf bill

Iranian member of parliament criticizes new headscarf bill

'This proposal ignores current conditions, needs and even philosophical and religious principles,' says Gholamreza Nouri Ghezeljeh

By Haydar Sahin

TEHRAN, Iran (AA) - An Iranian member of parliament said Sunday that a new bill presented to the assembly that would introduce harsh penalties for Muslim women who refuse to wear the headscarf lacks societal support and contains various issues that could “harm” existing laws.

The remarks by Gholamreza Nouri Ghezeljeh came after an unofficial closed session of the Iranian parliament where a report on the bill, including various penalties and sanctions, was discussed and voted on.

The Iranian judiciary's nine-article mandatory headscarf proposal, which was initially presented in parliament as a 12-article version, has reemerged on the agenda as a 70-article draft law following a review by the parliament's judiciary and legal commission, Ghezeljeh told Anadolu after the session.

He stressed that the proposal received 73% approval in the session, adding it will be voted on again in parliament's official session next week.

He noted that the draft law on the mandatory headscarf proposal encompasses various issues.

"This 70-article (draft law) has numerous problems. We were hoping to address at least some of these issues with the assistance of fellow parliamentarians, but unfortunately, we are losing this opportunity as well."

“My worry is that this proposal might be enacted as is, and I think it could lead to many problems in society,” he added.

Ghezeljeh also said the proposal would not have the necessary societal support.

Without revealing specific details of the draft law, he said: "This proposal overlooked current conditions, needs and even philosophical and religious foundations. It has substantial problems in multiple areas."

According to Iranian media, the draft law suggests harsh penalties for not complying with the mandatory headscarf rule, including fines, asset seizure and imprisonment.

Its details are still awaited.

A mandatory hijab rule came into force in Iran immediately after the 1979 revolution, while the Gasht-e Ershad, which translates as "guidance patrols" and is widely known as the "morality police," was set up in 2006 during then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s tenure.

The police unit made headlines in September last year after 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in police custody after being arrested in Tehran for allegedly not covering her hair properly and wearing skinny jeans.

Her death sparked massive protests in Iran which were marred by violence that claimed hundreds of lives, while thousands were arrested in Tehran and other cities, including Amini’s hometown in northwestern Kurdistan Province.

*Writing by Necva Tastan in Istanbul

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