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1979 Enforced Dress Code in Iran.  Here are the facts:

On the day before International Women’s Day, March 7, 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini declared that all female government employees would be expected to wear an “all-enveloping” black veil, described to be “an extension of four walls of the home.” 

The emphasis of this declaration, officials claimed, lay in Islamic doctrine.  In the Quran, under the Law of Hijaab, it is stated, “Oh Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veil) all over their bodies.”

The reception of this announcement was divided.  Many women, in accordance with their religion and upbringing, submitted to this new law.  Thousands of women, however, created social uproar, protesting the motion.  Marches and rallies continued for three days and concluded at the Palace of Justice.  Women demanded freedom to choose what to wear– not just in the work place, but wherever they were in society.

Khomeini’s supporters did not receive the protests very well.  They armed themselves with knives and “stood at windows along the parade route and exposed their genitals [saying] ‘this is what you want, you whores!’”

Khomeini’s initial response to the protests was to claim that he had only suggested modest dress, but in June of 1980, mandatory veiling was imposed.

“Women are free in the realm of education and in the professions, just as men are. Islam does not exclude women from social life but elevates them to a platform where they are not objectified, where they can assume responsibility in the structure of the Islamic government in accordance with their development.”  Upon seizing power, Komeini abolished the Family Protection Act as one of his first orders of business.

TODAY Iranian dress code is just as strict as when it was enforced in 1979.  In 2007 an Iranian TV channel reported that 86% of the population supported a fierce crackdown on “bad hijab”- and in 2007, in Tehran, police arrested several hundred native and tourist women for poor clothing choices that did not respect the law adequately enough.

There you have it.

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