Skip to main content

Iran's Khamenei strikes conciliatory message on hijab

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that women in loose hijabs are 'our daughters' and urged that they not be ostracized. 
Iran protest

After nearly four months of protests in the country that were sparked over hijab laws, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei expressed a conciliatory message for the first time Wednesday.

Speaking to pro-government women’s activists Wednesday morning, Khamenei said, “The hijab is a religious and inviolable necessity, but this inviolable necessity should not mean that someone with not a full hijab should be accused of anti-religion or anti-revolutionary.” 

He asked why accusations are made against women with what is commonly referred to as “bad hijab,” meaning that the front of their hair is showing. Khamenei added that women with this type of hijab were participating in government, run ceremonies and events, and that “they are like our own [wives] and daughters.” 

Khamenei also coined a term, which will likely fall into popular use soon within Iranian media, describing scarves that do not fully cover the hair as “weak hijab.” He said, “A weak hijab is not a good thing, but it should not cause that individual to be seen outside of religion and the revolution, and all of us have faults that we should resolve.” 

One Sept. 16, Mahsa Amini was arrested by the country’s morality police for wearing a loose-fitting hijab. She later died while in police custody. Her death sparked immediate protests with calls for the end of the Islamic Republic. Since then, over 500 people have been killed and over 12,000 have been arrested. Two individuals have been executed for charges of attacking security personnel, and approximately a dozen more have already been sentenced or are awaiting sentencing for charges that carry the death penalty. 

In previous speeches, Khamenei has accused the protestors of being agents of foreign governments, particularly the United States.

Today’s speech will likely do little to end protests, nor will it change the enforcement of the country’s laws. Many Iranian observers say that in recent months the enforcement of the country’s hijab law has been lax, but most observers see it as a tactical retreat rather than a change in government policy.

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