Women in Iran’s second-largest city will be banned from taking the Mashhad metro if they are not wearing a head covering, local media reported on Wednesday.
Since the country’s 1979 Islamic revolution, Iranian law requires all women, regardless of nationality or religious belief, to wear a hijab that covers the head and neck while concealing the hair.
But many have pushed the boundaries over the past two decades by allowing their head coverings to slide back and reveal more hair, especially in Tehran and other major cities.
Mashhad’s deputy prosecutor wrote to the city’s governor “demanding he ban women not wearing an Islamic head covering from accessing the metro”, said the Young Journalists Club (YJC), a news agency linked to state television, publishing a copy of the June 26 letter.
If officials do not enforce the ban by July 6 “they will be prosecuted”, the letter said.
Mashhad, the capital of northeastern Razavi Khorasan province and home to more than three million people, is the site of the Imam Reza shrine, which honours one of the most revered figures in Shiite Islam.
“The letter from Mashhad’s deputy prosecutor is in accordance with the law,” Iran’s attorney general Mohammad Jafar Montazeri told the YJC, confirming the note’s authenticity.
On Tuesday, local media said authorities had closed three coffee shops in the city of Qom due to female customers not wearing head coverings.
Last month, police arrested several girls in the southern city of Shiraz after they removed their head coverings during a skateboarding event, along with organisers.