Iran has introduced 2,000 new morality police units in Gilan Province, northern Iran, to issue “verbal and physical” warnings to the locals to counter what the regime officials call an “increasing defiance” of the compulsory wearing of hijabs.
Mohammad Abdollahpour, the commander of the Gilan Quds Force, announced on June 4 that a new “chapter of promoting virtue and prohibiting vice” had started in the northern province.
“The Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) in Gilan Province, alongside the Basij and other forces, will be involved in measures aimed at “Promotion of virtue and prevention of vice,” said Abdollahpour.
“The issue of ‘chastity and hijab’ (attire rules) are no ordinary matters. In fact, they are considered political and security dossiers for the country… The enemy is focusing on encouraging our people into a Western lifestyle.”
The commander of the IRGC branch in Gilan Province claimed “bad hijab” or mal-veiling warnings have been issued in more than 28,000 cases across the province. He also said the IRGC Basij have dispatched “around 22,000 people in Gilan’s neighborhoods” in their weekly patrols.
It would seem that this new wave of crackdown against civil liberties is linked to the “Razavion” patrols announced by Iran’s Police Chief in early May.
“An agreement has been reached between the police and the Basij Organization in the context of further engagement and cooperation on the launch of the Razavion Patrol,” Hossein Ashtari told IRNA News Agency on May 8.
Meanwhile, the commander of the State Security Force of Gilan, Mohammad Reza Es’haqi, also announced that 28,238 improperly veiled women had been dealt with since the beginning of this year. He said the patrols had guided 2,321 improperly veiled women towards moral security and obtained written commitments from them. They said legal cases had been filed against 64 women with the Justice Department.
The state-run Mehr news agency reported on June 4 that Falahati, the Friday Prayer Leader of Rasht, addressed the issue of improper veiling in a gathering of anti-vice patrols, saying, “Unfortunately, the situation of chastity and veiling in society is undesirable. Some people have gone to the extent that they publicly promote removing the veil.”
Iran has deemed “improper hijab” a security threat since the clerics took power 40 years ago. Senior officials never fail to mention how important the veil is in their speeches as it is the most obvious way the regime uses to suppress women.
Most recently, the Gilan IRGC commander said that forgetting “to promote virtue and prohibiting vice” was equal to the “collapse of the revolution”.
The names of the hijab patrols or morality police have changed over the 40 years of the clerical rule in Iran; From the “Sarallah Patrols” during the 80’s to the “Guidance Patrols” that were launched in 2005.
The “Ansare Hezbollah” was also launched by the IRGC in 2013 to deal with so-called “improper veiling”.