'We're more likely to be killed by the morality police than in an Israeli attack on Iran'

Azita writes of harsh reality in Iran leading up to and in the aftermath of the Iranian attack on Israel, says liberal Iranians hope the IDF launches a retaliatory attack that may re-ignite protests against the regime
Azita, a resident of Iran|
In the days leading up to the attack on Israel, the morality police appeared in large numbers on the streets of Iran. They move in unmarked cars, motorbikes or taxis.
We used to know where we could be outside with or without our hijab. We used to have cafes and restaurants where the regime's tentacles would not reach, but now they come to those places too and arrest women and take them away to jail, they fine others and close down the businesses.
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טהרן איראן שלט חוצות נגד ישראל
טהרן איראן שלט חוצות נגד ישראל
Woman walks past an Iranian government mural
(Photo: Abedin Taherkenareh / EPA)
We knew in the past that we had to wear our hijab in public places, such as bus or train stations, crowded places. We used to be able to walk the streets without one, but now morality police jump women from shops and detain them unexpectedly or stop cars without warning.
Some pirate taxi drivers would take women who do not have their headcover, but now every other car is stopped for inspection. There is terrible unchecked violence. They can walk by a car or shop and break the windows with their batons. They can just grab someone off the street and beat him within an inch of his life, before moving on to the next random victim.
We Iranians speak among ourselves about what Iran has done to Israel and what Israel is capable of doing to Iran. Some Iranians think Iran should have attacked and that now the conflict should end without war.
But most of us, certainly the liberals among us, think that an Israeli retaliatory strike could bring chaos that would prompt people to take to the streets. Perhaps this time, the regime would be unable to stop the resistance.
We all agree on one thing. We are more likely to be killed by the morality police than in an Israeli attack on Iran.
There were months after the protests when we were free to gather, burn our hijabs and walk around as we pleased without being bothered. It was a tacit agreement that allowed us freedom in certain areas.
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חיג'אב איראן נשים עם כיסוי ראש ב טהרן ארכיון
חיג'אב איראן נשים עם כיסוי ראש ב טהרן ארכיון
File photo of women in Iran
(Photo: Vahid Salem / AP)
It was clear to us that once there was talk of an attack on Israel, things would get worse. For the regime, attacking Israel and enforcing modesty laws are two sides of the political power. We were aware of that and took precautions but after Iran launched its strike, the number of morality police forces and the level of violence they used increased in a way we had not seen before, even during the protests. They are making it clear that not even a hint of protest would be tolerated.
Women who were protesting in the past, now stay home. The cost is too high. They have seen their friends, daughters, mothers and neighbors made to clean government offices for a year as punishment.
Some were forced to clean cadavers, others were sent to "re-education clinics," where they were forced to take drugs or listed as insane. Who would now choose to be seen as having been marked by the regime?
The price is high and today, most of us are short on cash. By their violence, they had won. They have oppressed us which leads many of the liberal Iranians to hope for an Israeli strike that could once more ignite street protests. There is even graffiti in support of Israel, on the walls, with giant stars of David or Israeli flags.
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