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Iran installing public cameras to identify women not wearing hijabs

Iran's crackdown on women's rights continued Saturday, as the country's police announced it would be installing cameras in public places to identify and punish unveiled women, Reuters reported. 

Women who are caught without a head covering will first receive "warning text messages as to the consequences," Iranian law enforcement said in a statementConsequences beyond this are unclear, though the statement went on to describe the hijab as "one of the civilizational foundations of the Iranian nation" and urged business owners to uphold their wearing through "diligent inspections."

The cameras come as more women continue to defy the country's compulsory hijab laws amidst ongoing protests and tensions over Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old who died in police custody in 2022 after being arrested for not covering her head. 

While hundreds of women have removed their hijabs in protest since Amini's death, Iran's Interior Ministry has remained steadfast in mandating its wearing. It also urged the public to confront women who were not wearing one, per Reuters. 

Public attacks against women with uncovered heads is common in Iran. Despite this, though, many of the protesters continued to defy the country's law. "I feel that our mere presence on the streets is an act of resistance. Practicing everyday life as we want is a part of our revolution," Ava, a Tehran-based protester, told ABC News. "This is life. This is womanhood. I will never forget the epic feeling I had the day I went out with my friend and saw how we, women, have conquered the city with our bodies, with our hair in the wind."

Even as the protests grow, though, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi reiterated that the wearing of hijabs was a "religious necessity," BBC News reported, and mandatory head coverings remain as part of Iran's law.