In Iran, the Hijab Is the Red Line for Both Government and Women

Earlier this year, Iranian authorities moved against what they saw as a disturbing trend: More women were refusing to wear a legally required headscarf, or hijab. President Ebrahim Raisi ordered tougher enforcement of the law to coincide with the government’s National Hijab and Chastity Day on July 12. 

The moves were accompanied by a series of arrests and triggered fury among Iranians who took to the street. Two months later, 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died after being detained by the country’s morality police for allegedly disrespecting the Islamic Republic’s dress code, and Iran exploded. Street protests are now entering their sixth week and have picked up steam in recent days, posing the strongest challenge to the Islamic Republic in more than a decade.