Almost a full year after the death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of Iran’s so-called “morality police” galvanized mass protests, Iranian MPs are pushing for even more stringent punishments to deter women from violating its enforced modesty laws.
The Hijab and Chastity Bill—a draft law consisting of 70 articles—would intensify punishments for those seen flouting a dress code that became the flash point for the most widespread challenge to the Islamic Republic in four decades. The bill calls for increased fines and jail time, as well as the use of artificial intelligence to identify violators, according to CNN. These measures build on previous efforts to crack down on strict dress codes and identify unveiled women, including the addition of cameras in public places in April.
A straw poll taken Sunday saw 175 members of Iran’s parliament vote in favor of the move, while 49 voted against it, the BBC reported. If Iran’s Guardian Council, a separate, unelected body in Iran’s elaborate theocratic system, approves the bill, it would go forward on a pilot basis for between three and five years. MPs could then progress these measures into permanent law.
Hijab—a headscarf conservative clerics say should be worn so snugly no hair is shown in public—became compulsory in Iran after the 1979 revolution, along with “modest” dress that cloaks the female body. By enforcing what many Muslim women said should be a matter of choice, the rule became a political symbol of the regime, showing that it is in control. But since last year’s protests broke out, more and more women have been moving about in public with their hair uncovered as an act of resistance.