On September 16, 2022, 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died after being arrested by Iran’s morality police for wearing her hijab “improperly”. Her death led to massive anti-regime protests, known by their now-iconic slogan: “Woman, Life, Freedom”. The Observers team has been in regular contact with dozens of women across Iran over the past 12 months. Many of them have told us that it has become the “new normal” for millions of women in Iran to go out in public with their hair uncovered. But with a new law under discussion that would massively increase the penalties for hijab-related offenses, how long will these new freedoms last?
While a year ago it was unusual to see women without hijab in public spaces in Iran, thousands of amateur images posted online – and the accounts of women inside the country – show that millions of Iranian women now routinely go out in public without the Islamic head covering.
A new law is under discussion in the Iranian parliament that would increase the penalties for the improper wearing of hijab from the equivalent of 1 euro to 3,000 euros, and the maximum prison sentence from two months to 10 years. The proposed law has special measures for so-called “celebrities”, including the confiscation of 10 percent of their assets.