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Internal Strife Erupts as Iran’s Regime Unveils Controversial Hijab Enforcement Plan

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The rollout of the “Tarheh Noor” initiative, Persian for the Plan of Light, purportedly aimed at combating improper veiling but widely criticized as repressive and misogynistic, has stirred internal discord within the regime.

Major General Hassan Hassanzadeh, the commander of Tehran’s Revolutionary Guards, emphasized the implementation of the repressive measures against Iranian women, stating that authorities and trained groups will rigorously enforce hijab laws and regulations in Tehran’s streets, markets, parks, recreational areas, and public transportation.

Earlier, the State Security Force had warned against any criticism, pledging to continue the repressive plan despite any potential backlash. In a statement, it emphasized, “Attempts by dissenting circles to manipulate the media with fabricated narratives, will have no impact on the resolve and determination of the police.”

Ahmad Alamolhoda, the Supreme Leader’s representative in Mashhad, zealously defended the oppressive measures, saying, “During the implementation of the ‘Plan of Light’ by law enforcement, a certain group of uninformed and malicious individuals claim, with the intention to undermine Islam, that this action constitutes a forceful crackdown. They portray law enforcement’s actions as geared solely toward confrontation and conflict. However, this is not the case.”

Furthermore, Prosecutor General Mohammad Movahedi-Azad expressed support for the repressive actions of SSF, declaring, “The police are fulfilling their duty in enforcing the laws of chastity and hijab. Therefore, I urge the police to strive for the improvement of chastity and hijab standards.”

On the other hand, sidelined factions within the regime use their own media outlets to express concerns and warn that the intensification of suppression will have severe social and political repercussions.

Bahar News website, linked to the faction aligned with former regime president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, scorned the “Plan of Light” with sardonic yet cunningly rhyming acronyms such as the “Plan by Force” or the “Plan of the Blind.” The site wrote on April 18, “In recent days, Iranian streets have witnessed a display of authority by law enforcement towards women and girls who are not adhering to hijab regulations. While it is being labeled as the ‘Plan of Light,’ authorities assert its implementation in response to public demand.”

Masih Mohajeri, the editor-in-chief of the state-run newspaper Joumhuri-e-Eslami, wrote, “Government officials and the system cannot succeed in enforcing hijab solely through methods like morality patrols and brute force. Until they deal with the preacher who insulted the Prophet and the one who confiscated the Ozgol Garden, they cannot compel society to adhere to religion and hijab.”

Mohajeri’s remarks refer to Alireza Panahian, a state-affiliated cleric and a founding member of the Ammar Headquarters, who sparked controversy by making derogatory comments about Prophet Muhammad and Imam Ali ibn Abitaleb during a political commentary on state TV.

Furthermore, Mohajeri highlighted the case of Kazem Sedighi, the interim Friday prayer leader of Tehran, whose alleged corruption and misappropriation of public property have garnered significant attention in the media.

Alireza Beigi, a member of the regime’s Parliament, held the Raisi government responsible for any potential social unrest in the future, stating, “The return of morality patrols is a government initiative; it is primarily managed by the Ministry of Interior. Morality patrols have resumed their presence on the streets, and videos depicting their interactions with the public continue to circulate.”

Meanwhile, Mohammad Safavi, another MP warned, “Challenging or imposing behaviors in the matter of hijab will yield no fruitful results.”