The Iranian Cabinet approved a bill on Sunday that criminalizes sexual harassment and violence against women, ending a multi-year debate about the proposal.
The bill criminalizes "any act that causes physical or emotional or reputational harm" to women or causes a limitation of their social rights. It also specifies specific punishment for offenders.
"We have been waiting for this for 10 years," said lawyer Shima Ghoosheh from Tehran. "I think this is a step forward because it gives us a general law for protecting women that we can build on and amend."
Offenders face up to two years in prison, up to 99 lashes, and fines for breaking the law, which includes sending sexually explicit photos and messages.
The bill will now go before parliament, where it is expected to encounter fierce opposition from traditional Islamic groups.
The new law would not, however, define domestic abuse or criminalize issues such as child marriage and marital rape.