Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Monday, June 07, 2010

Keeping the Basiji employed

In the summer between the last Iranian election and the next, the social conservatives remind everyone who is in charge.

Iranian authorities step up arrests of women for 'immodest' dress
Iranian authorities have begun police patrols in the capital to arrest women wearing clothes deemed improper. The campaign against loose-fitting veils and other signs of modernism comes as government opponents are calling for rallies to mark the anniversary of the disputed presidential election, and critics of the crackdown say it is stoking feelings of discontent.

But hard-liners say that improper veiling is a "security issue" and that "loose morality" threatens the core of the Islamic republic.

Iran's interior minister has promised a "chastity plan" to promote the proper covering "from kindergarten to families," though the details are unclear. Tehran police have been arresting women for wearing short coats or improper veils and even for being too suntanned. Witnesses report fines up to $800 for dress considered immodest…

When seminary student Fatemeh Delvari, 24, moved to Tehran from a provincial town eight months ago, she was shocked to see how some women dressed.
"My own veil oppresses my feminine side, so I can be free and active," she said of her black chador, a garment that covers the entire body except the face and hands. "But some women seem to be only interested in looking beautiful."
"They are trampling on social boundaries," Delvari said. "Violence is not good, but they should be punished."…

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