Iran Is About To Double Down On Its Strict Hijab Laws

Six months after protests rocked Iran, new laws will introduce heavy fines for women not wearing hijabs in public spaces and force teachers to clamp down on schoolgirls.
An Iranian woman celebrating the first day of Spring in March in Tehran. Photo:  Morteza Nikoubazl/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

Iran has announced it is set to impose heavy fines on women and girls who defy the country’s guidelines on head-covering in public places. 

The move comes despite huge public backlash over the death in September last year of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while under the custody of Iran’s morality police for wearing an “inappropriate hijab”.

Public anger over her death inspired months-long nationwide protests that shook the authority of Iran’s regime and resulted in 20,000 arrests and more than 500 deaths. 


According to the new laws, instead of being treated as a misdemeanour, women not wearing a hijab will be subject to fines, and students who fail to comply with the “Islamic” dress code will be barred from attending classes. 

Issued by the Education Ministry on Monday and published by Mehr News, Iran’s semi-official news agency, the new regime called on teachers to monitor the mandatory head covering for girls and focus on “creating a positive conversation among students on the subject of Islamic culture and beliefs” at schools.

The new laws will also be a doubling down on wider existing hijab regulations, deemed by the authorities to be ineffective in enforcing the rules in public places such as cars, restaurants, government offices, airports and online. 

Hardline MP Hossein Jalali, the head of Iran’s Cultural Commission, said that a new system of fines will range from 5,000 to 30 billion Iranian rials (£8 to £4,800). Jalali added that those found breaking the hijab laws would receive a warning text message first, and fines would be issued later for those who continued to defy the law.


The government has also started to shut down businesses that serve women without head coverings, including hotels, cafes, and restaurants, to pressure women to comply with the law.

According to reports from Tehran's leading reformist daily newspaper, Etemad, citing tourism officials, 17 tourist destinations in cities such as Isfahan, Shiraz, Kashan, and Yazd, including hotels, guesthouses, and a nature park, have already been closed for violating "Islamic guidelines.” 

Anti-hijab protests have died down after the heavy-handed crackdown by security forces in Iran, and “morality police patrols” tasked with cracking down on “improper hijabs” in public places have disappeared, amid an overwhelming popular public disagreement with the patrols.

However, the new laws are a sign the “Islamic hijab” campaign launched by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in July 2022 to clamp down on fashion trends among young people deemed “un-Islamic” by the country's clergymen, remains a priority. The authorities in Tehran have repeatedly blamed foreign countries, including the US and Israel, for fueling the unrest.