Iranian authorities have been shutting down a large number of shops and businesses around the country they say are not observing the mandatory hijab law.
According to reports from Iran, Ali Akbar Javidan, the police commander of Kermanshah Province, said the Public Places' Supervision Department, in cooperation with "other responsible agencies," has begun "the implementation of the chastity and hijab plan."
Javidan said 45 businesses were closed after ignoring warnings they were not abiding by the compulsory hijab rule.
Many walk unveiled
Iran recently launched a new domestic surveillance program for enforcing its mandatory hijab law, and many women appear to be ignoring it.
In recent weeks, VOA Persian has observed a series of what it deems to be credible social media videos showing women in different parts of the country walking unveiled in public in defiance of the hijab law.
Iranian state media said the program went into effect on April 15. A week earlier, Iran's national police chief, Ahmad Reza Radan, said authorities would employ advanced surveillance capabilities, including street cameras, to identify women violating the law. It requires them to wear a hijab to cover their hair in public in accordance with an Islamist dress code that is reviled by secular Iranians.
Many women in Iran have publicly opposed the mandatory hijab since the death last September of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman who died while in the custody of the morality police. Amini had been detained for allegedly violating the hijab rule, and her death sparked nationwide protests.
Security forces have violently put down the protests, and according to a report by the Human Rights Activists News Agency in early January, 516 protesters have been killed, including 70 children.
The latest figures from the U.S.-based human rights monitor put the number of people arrested at more than 19,200, among them 687 students.
'Why should the hijab be compulsory?'
Even though women can be arrested if they are not wearing a hijab in public, they are widely seen without a head covering in malls, restaurants, shops and streets around the country.
Many women and girls continue to discard their veils in public and publish their photos and videos despite previous police threats.
In an interview with VOA last week, Homayoun Katouzian, a professor at Oxford University, criticized Iran's policies regarding the hijab and said, "When prayer and fasting are not compulsory, and there is no crime for not doing them, why should the hijab be compulsory?"
Ahmad Vahidi, the former commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and current Interior minister, has threatened the opponents of compulsory veiling with "deprivation of public services."