Statement of the Tudeh Party of Iran: “Compulsory hijab (veil)” is a clear violation of the democratic rights and freedoms of women in our country and must be fought against!
The Tudeh Party of Iran strongly condemns the continuing criminal chemical attacks by the regime’s mercenaries on female students, girls’ schools, and dormitories!
The Islamist [theocratic] regime is trying to restore the country’s status quo to that which existed before the start of the popular “Women, Life, Freedom” uprising, by way of a widespread campaign to re-establish the atmosphere of guidance patrols [morality police] in the public space and society, and to renew the undignified and inhumane treatment of women and girls with the aim of re-imposing the compulsory hijab. This harsh and repugnant imposition – which brought about serious challenges to the reactionary ruling regime through the courageous struggle of the nation’s women and girls over recent months – has been ignored by increasingly large sections of the population, provoking reaction from [‘Supreme Leader’] Ali Khamenei.. In one of his recent speeches, he explicitly referred to the anti-hijab behaviour and moves [currently evident across a wide swathe of the country’s female population] as “haram” (forbidden in religion) and therefore illegal. He requested that the [regime’s] security forces take steps to address the issue “intelligently”. Following these orders by the “leader” of the forces of reaction, a number of Friday Imams, heads of the guidance patrols, and criminals such as Hossein Shariatmadari, the notorious ex-interrogator/torturer and current editor of “Kayhan” daily newspaper in Tehran, called for the regime’s mercenaries to “fire at will” when confronting those women who ignore hijab.
A woman’s right to choose how to dress is a basic human right that has been taken away from the women of our country along with many other rights over the past 40 years. At the same time, the mandatory “hijab” policy imposed by the regime’s rulers is clearly in keeping with the deeply reactionary and anti-people nature of a regime whose continued existence is underscored by bloody and violent suppression of dissidents as well as the imposition of a medieval vision on more than half of the population of our country.
The security apparatus of the regime and the judiciary have in recent weeks been sending their thugs, under the guise of those extolling “reminders of good and evil” onto the streets and public places with the aim of harassing those women not wearing hijab. Meanwhile, the regime-run Islamist parliament is striving to urgently pass laws designed to prevent women who ignore [mandatory] hijab from taking up various social and professional activities.
Ahmadreza Radan, [Iran’s] Chief of Police, announced on 8 April 2023 that, “We believe that the women of Islamic Iran are virtuous and aware of the society’s condition. Hijab is a social issue and [as such] come under the remit of the police in one way or another. My colleagues will enter three areas (public roads, private vehicles, and public places) from Saturday 15 April – with prior notice in these three areas. From Saturday next week, people who do not observe the hijab in these three areas will be presented for prosecution by the judiciary along with supporting evidence and documents…” Despite all these threats and the unleashing of the mercenary thugs onto the streets to intimidate the women of our country, they continue their courageous struggle against the compulsory hijab.
And, yet again, over recent days, deeply disturbing news of widespread chemical attacks by the regime’s mercenaries on schoolgirls, girl schools, and dormitories have been reported. Chemical attacks on girls’ schools began on 30 November 2022 in the city of Qom [a religious seminary centre] and have taken place in 26 schools in Tehran, as well as other cities, since February as part of the regime’s ‘revenge’ against the widespread participation by female students in the “Woman, Life, Freedom” movement. According to unofficial statistics, the number of victims of these criminal attacks by the regime’s mercenaries is estimated to be more than 1,200 people. The Tudeh Party of Iran strongly condemns this criminal act by the regime’s mercenaries which has been organised and executed with the tacit approval of the regime’s leaders.
As stated in the documents of the 7th Congress of the Tudeh Party of Iran, the Velayat-e-Faqih [‘Rule of the Supreme Jurist’] regime has carried out a programme of targeted gender and class discrimination for the benefit of the ruling layer of the capitalist class in Iran through the violent suppression of women’s rights in our country. The implementation of this programme has caused very unfortunate conditions for our society – one of which is the intensification of the exploitation and poverty of women, especially women from the deprived strata. Urgent planning to eliminate these discriminations is one of the most important arenas of struggle for the revolutionary, progressive, and freedom-loving forces [of our country] as well as a national and democratic government. Therefore, the Tudeh Party of Iran presents its plan of demands for women’s rights and freedoms as follows:
– Removal of compulsory hijab by observing the Iranian women’s right to dress as they wish with no exception;
– Immediate abolition of all laws that run counter to the social and human dignity of women;
– Eliminating all forms of discrimination and violence against women by passing protective laws and expanding the discourse for eliminating all types of violence in the community, as well as joining the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (monitored by CEDAW);
– Annulling men’s guardianship of women and men’s right to polygamy and unilateral divorce;
– Outlawing “child marriage”; and
– Abolition of all laws related to gender segregation and abolition of the restrictions created by law on women’s education, work, sports, and art…
The widespread struggle against the [regime’s] pressure to re-impose the “compulsory hijab” along with the fight against the continuation of the chemical attacks on schoolgirls is an urgent and important task for all progressive and freedom-loving forces of the country. As the experience of recent months has shown, it is only through widespread and coordinated popular protests that the Supreme Leader’s regime can be forced to retreat.
Warm salutations to the struggling women of our homeland against the authoritarian regime and all its misogynistic and inhumane policies.
The Tudeh Party of Iran
20 April 2023