Skip to main content

Iran's Quds Force leader criticizes women without hijabs

Speaking about the protests in Iran for the first time, Esmail Qaani said that 'honorable women' wear headscarves.
Esmail Qaani

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force commander Esmail Qaani has weighed in for the first time on the recent protests in Iran with controversial comments about women who do not wear a hijab.

During a televised speech Tuesday, Qaani attacked the United States for the protests that have entered their fourth month. “You made so much noise in Iran,” Qaani said. “You gathered all of your energy from around the world, to what end?”

He continued, with his voice cracking and on the verge of tears, “Go to the entire Valiasr Street. You won’t see a single honorable woman without a hijab, not a single honorable woman.” The protests began Sept. 16 after Iran’s morality police arrested Mahsa Amini for wearing a loose-fitting hijab. Amini died in police custody, sparking anti-government protests across the country that so far have led to at least 500 deaths and the arrest of over 18,000.

Qaani also threatened journalists who supported the protests. “All of you who did media work against the Islamic Republic even for one day … one day your time will come. You will get hit.” He added that the warning also applies to those who did propaganda against the government or shared videos.

The speech was televised by Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting in honor of Hassan Irlou, a former Quds Force member and Iran’s former ambassador to Yemen, who died of COVID one year ago.

Qaani is typically soft-spoken, not prone to outbursts and careful not to weigh in on domestic issues, given that the Quds Force is specifically tasked with operations outside of Iran’s borders. 

But his comments Tuesday will certainly anger and isolate those who have been involved in protests.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Free

The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.

Free

What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing
Expert

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to pro.support@al-monitor.com and we'll onboard your team.

What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

Already a Member? Sign in

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial