|In a pre-summer ritual, an Iranian policewoman warns a young|
woman about her clothing and hair during a crackdown to
enforce the Islamic dress code.
President Hassan Rouhani, who came to office in 2013 partly on the votes of young, middle-class women, knows that in the summer, hundreds or even thousands will be arrested by the morality police for “bad hijab”, a slack interpretation of the official dress code requiring women to cover their hair and figure even as temperatures push 40 degrees.
In his remark last year that “you can’t send people to heaven by the whip”, the president expressed a belief that citizens should not be forced into “good” behaviour, and in two recent speeches he skirted the issue of hijab, provoking a critical response from Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader, and from senior members of the clergy.
In late April, the president told an assembly of Iranian police officers the duty of the police was solely to enforce the law. “The police’s job is not to enforce Islam, and furthermore, none among them can claim that their actions are sanctioned by God or the prophet [Mohammad].” » | Tehran Bureau correspondent | Wednesday, May 27, 2015