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JNS: With Iran backtracking on hijab enforcement, government senses its own weakness

Iranian Vice President Massoumeh Ebtekar made a surprising statement on Wednesday that women in Iran shouldn’t be forced to wear the hijab—a head covering worn in public by religious Muslim women.

“Our position is that it’s a regulation but the use of force, we don’t go along with that type of enforcement,” she said.

Women can be jailed in Iran for refusing to wear the headscarf.

This backtracking by the regime indicates to the Iranian people that the government is weak and losing its way. Since the onset of the domestic protests last year starting in December, there have been videos on social media of women dancing in the streets and the posting of a cartoon showing a woman holding a stick with a hijab made of Iranian Supreme leader Khamene’i wearing it.

As the great Professor Bernard Lewis often said, women are the real revolutionary force in the Middle East because they have the most to lose when the Islamic fanatics took over.

All of this is insulting to the regime, and shows that the government is at best confused and unclear about how to react to the ongoing protests.

Two questions are important to answer in trying to determine if and when the regime will fall: Does the regime have both the ability and the will to do what is necessary to keep itself in power?

If the answer to either question is no, then the regime is in trouble. People will feel empowered to do things that in 1978-79 led to the Islamic Revolution and the overthrow of the Shah. That process took about a year for the revolution to succeed.

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