Foreign PolicyForeign Policy

What the hijab protests mean for Iran’s clerical class

By Alex Vatanka

23 Sep 2022 · 6 min read

Editor's Note

This piece provides historical insights into the link between the strict religious laws and regime in Iran. It argues that the leadership fear any small change may result in a larger societal reform.

The latest round of mass protests in Iran erupted over the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman. She died on Sept. 16 at the hands of the so-called morality police for allegedly violating Iran’s rules on mandatory veiling in public.

Amini’s tragic death is yet another reminder of how the Islamist rulers in Tehran remain tone-deaf to the demands of the Iranian people. Opposition to mandatory wearing of the veil, or hijab, is one in a long list of public grievances.

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