The police today started a crackdown on women’s dress considered not compatible with the strict Islamic dress code. Violators can receive lashes, fines or imprisonment.
A growing number of young women have ignored the dress code in the past and it is expected that they will confront the police if the crackdown continues.
President Ahmadinejad has in the past taken a different path than the traditional conservatives over the women’s dress code. During his elections campaign, Ahmadinejad had said that the women’s dress was not a national issue. His stance on the new crackdown is yet unclear.
The issue of women’s rights in the Islamic Republic, including the freedom of dress, is rapidly growing into a major challenge for the authorities. The One-Million Signatures Campaign of the recent weeks has become a nationwide women’s movement calling for the equality of men and women. The women’s issues can indeed prove to be the Achilles’ heel of the Islamic Republic.