TEHRAN, Iran — An Iranian police officer has been reprimanded after he did not enforce the country’s dress code requiring women to cover their hair, local media reported Monday.
A video was widely shared on social media in recent days, showing a police officer in the western province of Kermanshah telling a woman that he did not consider the hijab, or headscarf, to be compulsory for women.
“This lady wants to go out in this outfit… it’s none of my business,” the officer is heard saying in response to a woman asking him to confront another woman for not wearing the hijab.
“After a thorough investigation… the officer was summoned… and received the necessary warnings and training,” the Tasnim news agency said Monday, citing a statement from the police of Kermanshah province.
The incident comes against the backdrop of a nationwide protest movement triggered by the September 16 death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old ethnic Kurd who had been arrested for an alleged breach of the same dress code for women.
Hundreds of people, including security personnel, have been killed and thousands arrested during the protests, which the authorities often describe as “riots.”
#BehnamZarei is an Iranian #police officer who refused to arrest a woman for not wearing the mandatory hijab. He said that as a policeman, he has the duty to defend the lives, property, and honor of his compatriots, and the type of clothing is a personal matter.#MahsaAmini pic.twitter.com/O4jlZpp0FN
— فریبرز کرمی زند (@F_karamizand) February 11, 2023
Since the start of the protests, women have increasingly been seen without the hijab in public places, in many cases without eliciting a reaction from the police.
But in January, local media reported that the police had resumed enforcement of hijab-wearing in cars, with violators receiving a text message warning from the police.