Today, the New York Times has a story about Tehran’s efforts to thwart planned protests on the anniversary of the disputed 2009 presidential election.   

…authorities in Iran have ordered at least two million paramilitary members into Tehran, re-arrested dissident activists furloughed from prison and aggressively enforced public bans on mingling of the sexes and un-Islamic women’s clothing.  

But the most interesting part of the story is Tehran’s crackdown on women.  Women were leaders in last year’s protests (which we wrote about here, and here) which was a source of great embarrassment to the Iranian regime.  Clearly, the crackdowns shows that Iran does not want women to adopt a leadership role in any protests that may occur on the anniversary.  The article states:  

Some opposition Web sites and witnesses reached by telephone in Tehran reported that since Saturday, police squads have begun an aggressive effort to enforce chastity rules on young people, preventing unwed couples from walking together and forcing women to wear proper Islamic attire. The measure appears to be aimed at keeping the youths, who had a dominant presence in the post-election protests last year, off the streets. 

Women have been required since the 1979 revolution to cover their hair and wear dark long shapeless coats to cover their bodies. But women have been pushing back the restrictions on their clothing over the past three decades, making the coats more colorful, tighter and shorter, and the headscarves smaller. 

Although the chastity rules are often enforced at the beginning of the summer when the weather warms, Tehran residents said that the crackdown this year was comparable in severity to the early days of the revolution. 

One woman in Tehran reached by telephone, who withheld her name for fear of retribution, said the scale of intimidation was so large that many women were not leaving their homes because they no longer had the proper clothes.

The ILNA news agency posted photos on Saturday of a police crackdown in Tehran in which officers stopped 30 cars to check on possible violators of the women’s dress code. Some of the cars were seized, ILNA reported, and owners were required to retrieve them after paying fines. 

In addition, a new court has been set up to deal with women who violate the dress code, Fars reported Monday.