Wednesday 18 October 2017

Female drivers in Iran who refuse to wear a veil will have their cars confiscated

A Muslim woman wears a hijab, which is a scarf that covers the head and neck but does not obscure the face
A Muslim woman wears a hijab, which is a scarf that covers the head and neck but does not obscure the face

Sarah-Jane Murphy

Iranian police have said that women who fail to wear the veil when driving will be fined and will have their cars confiscated for a week as a new nationwide policy is rolled out.

Last week 10,000 drivers received warnings and a further 2,000 are facing further investigation for "breaking social norms".

Deputy police chief Said Montazer-ol-Mehdi said officers had been authorised to take such steps.

"If traffic police spot an unveiled woman driver or passenger, their car will be taken to a police compound for a week”, he told IRNA news.

"Some owners will be fined but other offenders will be referred to judicial authorities for further investigation," he added.

Potential violations include “removal of veil inside the car, driving recklessly, parading in the streets and harassing women”.

All women, including foreigners are required to wear at least a loose scarf, known as hijab, which covers the hair and neck when in a public place.

Since the mid-1990s, however, there has been a gradual relaxing of the dress code.

In some upmarket neighbourhoods of northern Tehran, a city of 12 million, it is not uncommon to see women’s scarves wrapped around their shoulders.

Many women wear colourful, expensive coats and bright head scarves or tight trousers instead of the traditional one-piece, the head-to-toe black chador.

However, in recent months police have launched campaigns to enforce the law and will use a network of “trustees” to identify instances of non-compliance.

“A number of officials, army and government chiefs and covert police agents have been given access to a system set up to report the violations,” Montazer-ol-Mehdi said of the latest campaign.

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