Iran has introduced 2,000 new morality police units in reaction to an “increasing defiance” of the compulsory wearing of hijabs.
The units, called “resistance groups for verbal and practical response to bad-hijabi women”, were launched recently in the northern province of Gilan as part of a pilot scheme, according to The Telegram.
The units are each made up of six female officers who have the power to arrest women in violation of the compulsory Islamic dress code. Violators are typically fined and given up to two months in prison.
The move comes amid a growing backlash by women in the Islamic Republic, hundreds of whom have been arrested for taking off their head coverings in public in protest at the law.
Iranian law in place since the Islamic Revolution of 1979 stipulates that all women, Iranian or foreign, Muslim or non-Muslim, must be fully veiled in public at all times.
In addition, the Iranian police have shut down 547 restaurants and cafes over the past 10 days in Tehran for not observing “Islamic principles”, the capital’s police chief has said.
The infractions included “unconventional advertising in cyberspace, playing illegal music and debauchery”, Fars News reported.
“Observing Islamic principles is … one of the police’s main missions and responsibilities,” the police chief said.
Also on Saturday, the head of Tehran’s guidance court, which deals with “cultural crimes and social and moral corruption”, called on Tehran citizens to report cases of “immoral behavior” by texting a designated phone number.
Citizens can report instances of those removing their “hijab in cars”, “hosting mixed dance parties” or posting “immoral content on Instagram”, he said.