Iran: high-tech crackdown on hijab resistance

An Iranian government entity enforcing Islamic rules says the Intelligence Ministry has arrested 300 anti-hijab activist "ringleaders" working "for the enemy." A spokesman of the Enjoining Good & Forbidding Evil Headquarters said Sept. 11 that the activists were arrested in accordance with the new Hijab & Chastity Regulations, which officially extend the mandatory hijab to social media posts. This is to be monitored by the government's facial recognition software that was previously used during the pandemic to track if people were wearing face masks.

There were "flash mob" protests in Tehran last month after a woman who was arrested for defying the new regulations appeared on state television to give what rights monitors say was a forced confession as a result of torture. Sepideh Rashno, 28, was arrested in July after footage circulated online of her being harassed on a bus over "improper clothing." According to the Hrana human rights group, she was taken to hospital with internal bleeding shortly after her arrest. Rashno remains in custody. 

On Sept. 16, a 22-year-old woman who had been arrested for defying the hijab rules died in custody—officially of a heart attack. But eye-witnesses said Mahsa Amini was beaten while inside a police van when she was picked up in Tehran three days earlier.

The day the new regulations were issued, July 12, has now been designated "Hijab & Chastity Day." (Iran International, PRIThe Guardian, BBC News)

See our last report on the politics of the veil.

Iran: police fire on protesters

Five have been killed by security forces in protests following death of Mahsa Amini. A third day of demonstrations on Sept. 19 saw troops open fire on protesters in her home town, the city of Saqez, in Iran's Kurdish region—claiming the lives of two people. A further two were illed in Divandarreh, and a fifth in Dehgolan, also in the Kurdish region. Iranian state television rejected the "claims of deaths on social media." (SkyNews)

Iran: anti-hijab uprising spreads

Rights groups are decrying use of lethal force as anti-hijab protests spread in Iran. The protests, first concentrated in the Kurdish region but have spread to at least 50 cities and towns nationwide, inclduing Tehran. Rights monitors believe 10 protesters have now been killed. The protests are the largest since a wave of demonstrations in 2019 over gasoline price hikes. (BBC News, Reuters, HRW

Iran: death toll rises as uprising continues to spread

Amnesty International on Sept. 23 placed the death toll at 30 as protests in Iran have now spread to 20 cities across 10 provinces.