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Iran cracks down on "crime" of promoting hijab removal
Iranian women are leading a widespread protest for months following the death of 22-year-old Jina Mahsa Amini in police custody in September last year
Iran issued a stern warning to people who are encouraging women to remove their hijabs on Saturday.
Deputy Attorney General Ali Jamadi warned that "the crime of promoting unveiling will be dealt with the criminal court, whose decisions are final and unappealable," according to semi-official Mehr news agency.
"The punishment for the crime of promoting and encouraging others to remove the hijab is much heavier than the crime of removing the hijab itself, because it is one of the clear examples of encouraging corruption," Jamadi was quoted as saying.
He did not say what the punishments might be or what unveiling exactly entailed. His remarks come days after Iranian Tasnim news agency reported that Iranian authorities would use cameras in public spaces to identify women who don't cover their hair.
A video earlier this month showed a man throwing yogurt on two women for not wearing the hijab. Iranian law requires women to wear the hijab or headscarves in public. Both women were arrested.
Women at forefront of protests, authorities refuse to back down
Protesters in Iran have turned out for widespread demonstrations for months following the death of 22-year-old Jina Mahsa Amini in police custody in September last year. Amini died after being detained for allegedly violating the Islamic Republic's strict Islamic dress code.
Strikes in solidarity shut down business in some cities in the months that followed, with women at the forefront of these demonstrations. They tossed their hijabs into bonfires and cut their hair, and some schoolgirls removed them in classrooms too.
Several female celebrities and activists have also posted photos of themselves on social media without the hijab. But the protests have largely died down in recent weeks following a prolonged clampdown. More than 19,700 people have been arrested and at least 530 protesters killed, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group that has closely monitored the unrest.
Iranian actress Taraneh Alidoosti, who stared in the 2016 Oscar-winning film Taxi, was jailed for several weeks after criticizing a crackdown on anti-government protests.
Hengameh Ghaziani and Katayoun Riahi, two other famous Iranian actresses, were arrested in November for expressing solidarity with protesters on social media. They have also since been released.
rm/dj (Reuters, AP)