Struggle over what to wear in Iran

An annual test of wills between Iran’s morality police and women who dress in ways that are deemed unacceptable has begun in cities across the Islamic republic.

Mahnaz and Mahin, sisters who are 28 and 29 years old, respectively, were recently arrested because Mahin was wearing a jacket that female morality police officers deemed too short.

“They were so rude to us,” said Mahnaz, who, like others, declined to allow her last name to be used. “They told us, ‘If being arrested for having bad hijab bothers you, you should leave. This is an Islamic country and we don’t want Western-looking people here.’”

Finding urban Iranians who actually support the program to enforce hijab is increasingly difficult. Even many women who dress conservatively find the patrols distasteful.

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