The Iranian regime may repeat that the protest movement it faces is the result of“rioters” using the “unfortunate death of a young girl to sow chaos”, he should not have been surprised by the surge that followed the September 16 death of Mahsa Amini after his arrest by the vice squad. The signals have been piling up lately. And the administration of the Islamic Republic itself gave the alert in a document entitled “Project chastity and hijab”.
The 219-page document drafted by the Virtue Promotion and Vice Prevention Headquarters details the regime’s position and policy on wearing the hijab. Distributed at the beginning of the year to government agencies responsible for maintaining order, before being made public this summer, it sheds light on the state’s recent campaign to impose stricter wearing of the veil on women. The same one that has cost the life of Mahsa Amini and 154 protesters since.
In the minds of the editors, it is a question of stemming the loss of ideological influence of the regime and the weakening of its control over society through the compulsory wearing of the headscarf imposed on women. Is the most significant symbol of the union of the clergy and the soldiers which characterizes the Islamic Republic. But this influence, according to them, would plummet rapidly and dangerously. The opinion of Iranian society was no longer in tune with that of the country’s leaders.
“62% of women do not approve of the hijab”
The number of Iranians opposed to this measure, they observe, would increase day by day. And “62% of women do not approve of or regularly wear the full Islamic hijab”, the chador. Result : “Some citizens have started to oppose those who prevent vice. » Either the agents of the morality police.
For the writers of the report, it is time to go back on the offensive and win back hearts and minds. Or, failing that, the public space and the informational domain. By increasing patrols and the use of video surveillance; by opening rehabilitation centres; even by cutting off the Internet to women deemed too recalcitrant. A sentence of up to two years’ imprisonment is even prescribed for any Iranian who publishes content online against the compulsory hijab.
A “psychological warfare” would be led by “the enemy” which, according to the document, would encourage Iranian women to turn away from the hijab. The digital sphere is thus considered a battlefield that should not be neglected. Jostled by the demonstrators, the regime did not hesitate, at the end of the first week of the protest movement, to draw its absolute weapon: to deprive the Iranians of all online communication by cutting off the network.
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