Prominent Iranian Dissident Says Regime Is Using Cover of Israel Strikes, Gaza War To Renew Its ‘War Against Women’

Iran has declared a ‘rejuvenated campaign aimed at women who neglect to adhere to the Islamic dress code in public spaces,’ Masih Alinejad says.

AP/Vahid Salemi, File
Iranian women make their way along a sidewalk in downtown Tehran. AP/Vahid Salemi, File

The Iranian regime is using the cover of strikes against Israel and the wider war at Gaza to “renew its war against women,” a prominent Iranian dissident and activist, Masih Alinejad, tells the Sun. 

With both the Iranian press and international news outlets focused on the “mounting crisis” between Iran and Israel, she says, morality police patrols are increasingly cracking down on compulsory hijab laws. 

“Last Saturday, IRI [Islamic Republic of Iran] law enforcement authorities declared the start of a rejuvenated campaign aimed at women who neglect to adhere to the Islamic dress code in public spaces,” Ms. Alinejad says. “Named ‘Operation Noor,’ the morality police have violently assaulted women and arrested them for hijab violations.” 

In addition to verbal harassment, police have been using violence against women including stun guns, sexual assault, and physical abuse, she says. 

“The real war is against Iranian women. Morality police and Basij units were deployed against women, mere hours before the attack on Israel,” Ms. Alinejad adds. “This regime is beyond reform.”

Videos circulating on X that were viewed, but not independently verified, by the Sun show Iranian officers assaulting, dragging, and detaining women who are in public without hijabs. One video depicts an armed man in uniform approaching a woman without a hijab and violently kicking and beating her in the street. 

The crackdown comes two years after the death of a 22-year-old Iranian woman, Mahsa Amini, who was taken into custody for violating the hijab rules and died at a notorious detention center, sparking a national outcry and protests over the lack of women’s rights in the country.

“In parts of major urban areas, a significant number of women have continued to resist the compulsory hijab laws,” Ms. Alinejad says. “This recent crackdown coincides with a speech given by Ali Khamenei on April 4, where he asserted that all Iranian women must comply with the state’s dress code, regardless of their individual beliefs.”

The New York Sun

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