As we approach the anniversary of Iran’s nationwide uprising in 2022, which was triggered by the tragic death of a young Kurdish woman named Mahsa (Zina) Amini at the hands of Tehran’s Morality Patrol, the lingering potential for reigniting the embers of that uprising has kept the Iranian regime on high alert. Fearing the revival of the spark that ignited the previous unrest, the regime has taken precautionary measures to suppress the possibility of another nationwide uprising.
On July 16, the regime’s police spokesperson announced the deployment of guidance patrols and women-policing vehicles on the streets. The sudden appearance of Morality Patrol officers conducting street raids, coupled with women’s steadfast resistance against them, took many by surprise and even sparked discord and opposition among factions within the government.
Ahmed Reza Radan, the head of the regime’s police force, was appointed by the supreme leader Ali Khamenei himself, and his history is marked by a record of oppressive actions. He has been involved with the IRGC since its inception, making his alignment with Khamenei’s authoritative rule a potential advantage for Radan.
Amidst the wave of public discontent and the resolute resistance exhibited by women against the oppressive Ershad patrol officers, along with internal disagreements within the regime regarding the revival of this patrol, Radan issued a defiant statement on July 20: “It is essential for everyone to understand that this mission is irreversible.” Essentially, this implies that the regime perceives controlling women’s attire as not just a mission, but a critical element vital to its survival—a stark testament to the significance it places on this undertaking.
The Secretary of the Working Group on Social Injuries at the Vice Presidential Office for Women and Family disclosed an astonishing fact concerning the financial burden associated with enforcing mandatory veiling for women. He stated, “Reports indicate that last year’s ideological warfare accounted for a staggering 150 times Iran’s annual budget, primarily allocated to media expenses aimed at effectively influencing public perception.”
Leaders of Friday Prayers, including Kazem Sediqi, the head of the regime’s Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice headquarters, exhibited heightened anxiety over the prospect of the ‘unveiling of the hijab’ rather than focusing on the economic ramifications. This particular cleric appears more preoccupied with the potential destabilization of the regime, which he asserts is preserved through ‘unseen hands.’ He views the concept of ‘unveiling’ as a direct threat to a regime that perceives its security to be intricately woven with turbans, veils, mourning, and eulogies.
Of particular interest is Hossein Shariatmadari, the managing editor of Kayhan, who asserts that the reappearance of the Ershad patrol on the streets is a direct consequence of orders issued by Ebrahim Raisi and Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, the head of the judiciary. This revelation underscores the internal conflicts and fragility that exist within the regime itself.
The resurgence of repressive, intimidating, and lethal patrols underscores the Iranian regime’s apprehension regarding the possibility of women leading the people’s uprising.
Despite the regime’s reprehensible actions, the women of Iran continue to demonstrate resilience. The revival of the morality police serves as a glaring indicator of the regime’s failure to enforce its laws, threats, and measures against women over the past year. In no uncertain terms, one can assert that within the current landscape of the Iranian people’s revolutionary movement, the instruments of repression and armed force are not prevailing forces.
Standing unwavering against all forms of governmental coercion—whether religious, veiling-related, or the broader grip of state control—has become emblematic of revolutionary resistance against the ruling authority.
In the arena of confrontation between the populace and the regime, contrary to the perspectives of pacifist and non-violent theory sets, it is the regime’s deployment of violence that beckons the unarmed and vulnerable citizens to respond.”