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Iran Lawmaker Says Inflation Has Hurt Hijab

FILE - Parliament member from Qom, Ahmad Amirabadi Farahani, undated.

A lawmaker in Iran has warned that "unveiling" or taking off hijab among Iranian women has gained momentum.

Ahmad Amirabadi Farahani has argued, that prices of black body cover called Chador has skyrocketed and what the secular king Reza Shah was unable to do in the 1930s is happening now

In 1936, Reza Shah, the founder of the Pahlavi dynasty, issued a decree banning women from wearing Chador, an edict that was forcefully, and without connivance implemented.

Chador (literally meaning "tent" in Persian) is a loose outer garment worn by women in some parts of the Middle East, particularly Iran and Iraq. It is a semi-circle, floor-length cloth that covers up women head to toe.

By banning Chador, Reza Shah hoped to pave the way for the Iranian women to join men in creating a "modern" Iran.

Wearing hijab remained optional after Reza Shah until the 1979 revolution when the newly established Islamic Republic made it compulsory. Enforcing hijab is important for the clerical rulers and ther hardliner supporters.

Farahani says last year, the price of a chador was approximately $10 to $40, whereas now is between $50 to $160.

Using the term "infiltration" as a # (hashtag), Amirabadi Farahani has reiterated in a tweet that what Reza Shah failed to do, is currently underway, since many women cannot afford to buy black Chador.

Inflation in Iran has spiked since 2018 when U.S. sanctions hindered imports and exports and the Iranian currency lost most of its value.

Meanwhile, dozens of women's rights activists, including the award-winning lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, are currently behind bars for protesting compulsory hijab in Iran.

According to a member of the Iranian Textile Board of Directors, Alireza Ha'eri, Iran ranks first in the world for buying material used in making a black Chador.

"Iran consumes seventy million to eighty million meters of black cloth for Chador, every year," Ha'eri says.

However, there is only one factory in Iran that produces good quality marketable Chadors, Ha'eri maintains, adding, "the capacity of the newly built factory is not more than 10 million meters per year."

Syria is the major exporter of the most expensive Chadors to Iran.