INTERNATIONAL

Iran shutters bookshop over hijab law violation: Report

Iranian police on Friday closed a major bookshop in the centre of the capital Tehran for allowing unveiled women to enter the premises without a compulsory headscarf, a newspaper reported.

Covering the head and the neck has been compulsory for women in Iran since 1983, following the 1979 Islamic revolution. (Reuters)

The closure is part of punitive measures by authorities over the past year against women and businesses who fail to observe the Islamic republic’s strict dress code.

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“Today, at around noon (0830 GMT), police officers went to the central Tehran branch of Shahr-e-Ketab (book city in Farsi) and closed it,” reformist Shargh daily said on its website.

Shargh cited the reasons for the closure as “the non-observance of trade union regulations and the orders of the interior ministry” as well as “the presence of customers without veils”.

The bookshop confirmed its closure by authorities in a brief statement on its official Instagram account without elaborating.

Covering the head and the neck has been compulsory for women in Iran since 1983, following the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Women in Iran have increasingly defied the dress code since mass protests triggered by the September 16 death in police custody last year of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, an Iranian Kurd, who was arrested for allegedly flouting the dress rules.

During the months-long demonstrations, several hundred people were killed, including dozens of security forces, and thousands were arrested.

As part of efforts to enforce the ban over the past year, authorities have closed several businesses for not respecting the dress code and installed surveillance cameras in public places to monitor violations.

State media reported in July increased police patrols aimed at catching those ignoring the law and in September, parliament voted in favour of a bill that would toughen penalties on those who breach the dress code.

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