[In this footage from Radio Farda, the issue of Girls of Enghelab Streets and giving them heavy sentences for taking off their hijab is discussed with Iranian political analyst Majid Mohammadi.]
TV anchor: Tehran prosecutor announced that one of the Girls of Enghelab Street has been sentenced to 24-month of discretionary imprisonment on the charge of “encouraging people to corruption by taking off her hijab”. For more analysis, we will talk to Majid Mohammadi, a political analyst from New York. Mr. Mohammadi, how do you assess the confrontations of the judiciary system in recent days with protests of Girls of Enghelab Street?
Majid Mohammadi: It seems that the judiciary system is after intimidating the girls and women who are confronting and fighting against forced hijab.
If we look at the law – the law which seems to me unjust and anti-women – according to Article 638 of Islamic Criminal Punishment, if a woman takes off her hijab in the public, its punishment is between 10 days to 2 months of imprisonment and between 5,000 tomans to 50,000 tomans fine.
The fact that the sentence for 2 years of imprisonment is given to Girls of Enghelab Street shows that it absolutely illegal and it is absolutely for confronting the powerful movement that is going on in Iran. It is natural that the girls who come to streets are completely aware of such confrontations, and they know the law and the judiciary system.
They come to streets to protest with complete awareness. And to me, it seems that such sentences will not stop the continuation of this movement.
TV anchor: On the other hand, yesterday Attorney General asked Tehran prosecutor to enter the issue of the dance of little girls in the ceremony of Tehran’s municipality. Are we witnessing more limitations by the establishment on women and girls – of course, little girls?
Majid Mohammadi: I don’t think these are new or more limitations. During past 4 decades, Islamic Republic has launched a full-fledged war against women and girls and has continued this war to send them back into houses. This attempt can be explained through 4 policies.
The first policy is limiting the right to choose one’s clothing for women and even for little girls. They force the 6-year old girls who go to schools to have hejabs. This is not even acceptable within the framework of Sharia law. The second policy is gender discrimination, which means banning of the mingling of men and women in different places – particularly in metro and even in deserts, forests, mountains, and seaside.
All these are to make women not get out of their houses, or if they do, not to have good feelings in public places. The third policy is gender quotas which are imposed in educational environments to make women second class citizens compared to men. The fourth policy is about gender discriminations in work environments in which men are usually referred to women in governmental organizations.
In work environments, women are placed in certain conditions or are paid rewards to get retired sooner. All these aims at making women and girls not appear in the public places. But as we see today in Iranian society, this has failed.
The customs in Iranian society doesn’t accept this issue. As for the charge that you mentioned in the first half – “encouraging corruption” – customs in Iranian society do not see taking off hijab in the public as encouraging corruption or corruption. In confrontations that we see in video clips, we see that people have respect for Girls of Enghelab Street or women who have taken of their hejabs in different cities and streets. And they basically do not see these behaviors as corruption.