Iran’s new Justice Minister vows harsher crackdown on women

ImageTehran, Iran, Aug. 20 – The man designated by Iran’s hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as his Minister of Justice vowed on Saturday that “improperly-veiled women” will be treated as if they had no Islamic veil at all.

Jamal Karimi-Rad told the local press, “Being improperly veiled and not wearing a veil are no different. When it is clear from the appearance of a woman that she has violated the law, then the crime is obvious and law enforcement agents can take legal measures against her”.

“Crimes such as mal-veiling or other prohibited acts, which happen before the eyes of a law enforcement agent, are evident crimes and must be dealt with in accordance with the law”, Karimi-Rad said.

Karimi-Rad also made it clear that members of the para-military Bassij and the notorious Ansar-e Hizbollah, government-organised gangs of hooligans, are regarded as law enforcement agents in clergy-ruled Iran.

Women have been facing a harsher crackdown since the June elections that led to Ahmadinejad’s presidency.

In July, Iran deployed squads of women-only vice police to clamp down on “un-Islamic” dress. The semi-official Jomhouri Islami recently reported that women have been arrested in Iran for “disrespecting Islamic virtues and for having repulsive and immoral attire”.

With the arrival of a top commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as the country’s new police chief, a new summer-long crackdown on “social vice” in Tehran was launched targeting young women.

State-run news agencies reported that “mal-veiled or unveiled individuals inside and outside of cars” would be the target of arrests by Iran’s State Security Forces, the paramilitary police force. The police would also embark on a systematic clampdown on “shops and public places where public chastity and Islamic values are ignored”.