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Why do Iranian women wear veils?

Iranian women wear veils because they are required by the law to do so. In 1979, after the Islamic Revolution that caused the downfall of Shah Reza Pahlavi, the Iranian government implemented a legal form of dress code to be worn and strictly followed by Iranian women.

According to the Iranian law, a woman’s clothing should coincide with the following requirements:


  1. A woman’s clothing should be able to cover the entire body with the exception of the hands, considering the wrist down to the fingers, and the face. The body covering is often loose-fit and is called a chador”. The veil worn to cover the hair is called a hijab”, rusari” (Persian term used to refer to the ordinary type of head covering), or maghnae” (a black head covering very much similar to a wimple, or a head dress worn by women in medieval Europe).
  2. A woman may also wear a manteau if she does not desire to wear a chador” as long as the manteau is baggy and is long enough to hide what is beneath it.
  3. Before, bright colored clothing or garments with adornments are not allowed to be worn by women as it may attract attention from men. However, recent observations have shown that the moral police have become lenient and permissive, allowing the increasing number of Iranian women wearing colored clothing in public places.

If an Iranian woman does not act in accordance to the dress code, she is found guilty of a cultural crime called bad hijabi” or a type of unacceptable veiling. A bad hijabi constitutes head/hair that is uncovered, flaunting make-up, exposed legs and arms, filmy and skinny clothing, printed and designed garments, fingers with nail polish, bright-colored dress, indecent talking or body movement, and the likes.

To some people, wearing a veil may seem to be quite restricting. However in Iran, women are allowed to study and become a professional regardless of the veil. The wearing of the veil among Iranian women is a social act produced by the law that was based on Sharia.

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