Iran is reviewing a decades-old law that requires women to wear a hijab, as authorities struggle to quell protests over the dress code that have been ongoing for more than two months.
President Ebrahim Raisi said on Saturday in televised comments that Iran’s republican and Islamic foundations were constitutionally entrenched, but that there were “methods of implementing the constitution that can be flexible”.
It came a day after the country’s attorney general said parliament and the judiciary were reviewing legislation requiring a head covering.
“Both parliament and the judiciary are working (on the issue)” and results will be presented “in a week or two”, said Mohammad Jafar Montazeri.
The headscarf became obligatory for all women in Iran in April 1983, four years after the Islamic Revolution that overthrew the US-backed monarchy.
Hijab remains a highly sensitive issue
It remains a highly sensitive issue in a country where conservatives insist it should be compulsory, while reformists want to leave it up to individual choice.
The hijab has become the subject of daily nationwide protests since the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody in September after she was reportedly arrested for wearing her headscarf incorrectly.
According to human rights groups, so far, more than 460 people have been killed by security forces across the country, with 50 children among them. Anti-regime protests across Iran continued on Friday.
It came as Iran’s security forces reportedly demolished the home of the brother of Elnaz Rekabi, the country’s climbing champion who controversially competed without her hijab during a recent event in South Korea.
Footage posted online and shared by Davood Rekabi on Saturday showed a house reduced to rubble, with furniture and a box of medals piled up on the ground (see below).
An unidentified man off camera can be heard saying: “Where is the justice? This is the result of living in a country where its champion wins so many medals [but] her brother is hit with pepper spray and his modest working-class home demolished.”
Members of the regime’s cultural mobilisation force and security personnel were behind the demolition in the Zanjanrood city in the west of Iran, a source close to the Rekabi family told local press.
Mr Rekabi has also reportedly been fined 168m tomans (£4,000) for allegedly building his home without a construction licence.
Elnaz Rekabi received a hero’s welcome on her return to Tehran in October but later appeared on the state TV saying her scarf “had slipped off accidentally during the competition”. She has not been seen in public since and is believed to be under house arrest.