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Tehran University Tightens Hijab Mandate

Tehran University. Photo credits: Iran International

On February 19th, 2024, Tehran University announced an increased presence of ‘Hijab enforcers’ on the campus, following the initial announcement of deploying ‘Hijab enforcers’ in November 2023. Within the first week of the announcement in November, more than 50 students were summoned to disciplinary committees, facing penalties ranging from verbal reprimands to suspension, for allegedly failing to comply with compulsory Hijab regulations.


‘Hijab enforcers’ are a group comprised of women who monitor and surveil female students, staff, and faculty for non-compliance with the national mandate and university regulations on religious dress codes. The Deputy of Cultural and Social Affairs of the University, Mehdi Shahbazi, has revealed the “Moral Charter” adopted by the university. The Charter’s aim is to enforce head coverings for all female students and faculty and enforce “serious measures” to be taken against those who defy the Hijab policy.


The increased enforcement on mandatory Hijabs comes amid the wide-scale suppression of the Women, Life, Freedom movement in Iran. This latest move of deploying enforcers goes beyond having dress codes as it opens up women to harassment directly from the university. Reports also include denial of entry onto campus by security for those deemed to have violated the dress code. Students and faculty are increasingly facing suspension or expulsion as a result of these recent enforcements.


Endangered Scholars Worldwide (ESW) stands in solidarity with those who strive for freedom and safety across the world and now especially with the protestors in Iran. ESW condemns the Iranian government’s deployment of Hijab enforcers on campuses to harass and discipline women and young girls for allegedly violating the religious dress code. Furthermore, ESW condemns the use of dress codes to prevent women from accessing their right to education. ESW calls upon all international organizations, academic and professional associations, and individuals dedicated to the promotion and defense of human rights to exert pressure on the Iranian government, compelling it to uphold its commitments under international human rights law and agreements.



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