Women with hijab
Women with hijabiStock

Iranian police said on Sunday that authorities had closed more than 150 businesses in 24 hours for not respecting the obligation for women to wear headscarves under Iran’s strict Islamic dress code, AFP reported.

The closures were announced a day after police said they have now implemented a plan to deal with women who violate the law, using surveillance cameras and facial recognition technology.

“Unfortunately, police have had to seal 137 shops and 18 restaurants and reception areas for not heeding previous warnings” on the dress code, the Tasnim news agency quoted police spokesman Said Montazerolmahdi as saying.

The requirement for women to wear the headscarf in public was enshrined in law shortly after the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

Last week, Iranian authorities announced that cameras would be installed in public places and thoroughfares to identify and penalize unveiled women.

After they have been identified, violators will receive “warning text messages as to the consequences”, police said in a statement.

A growing number of Iranian women have been ditching their head coverings since the death of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini while in custody of the morality police last September. Amini had been detained for allegedly violating the hijab rule.

Protests erupted across Iran following Amini’s death. The government crackdown on the demonstrations resulted in hundreds of people being killed, including dozens of security personnel, and thousands arrested.

Several people have already been executed over their involvement in the protests and death sentences have been handed down to others.

Despite risking arrest for defying the obligatory dress code, women are still widely seen unveiled in malls, restaurants, shops and streets around the country. Videos of unveiled women resisting the morality police have flooded social media.

The police urged citizens to confront unveiled women. Such directives in past decades have emboldened hardliners to attack women. Two weeks ago, a viral video showed a man throwing yoghurt at two unveiled women in a shop. The man was later arrested, but so were the two women.