Has Iran’s morality police abolished? Not really

Iran’s semi-official news agency ISNA reported that Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, Iran’s attorney general, had said on Saturday that the morality police “had been shut down.”

However, no details have been provided and the alleged decision has not been corroborated by official state media.

Iranian state media was quick to clarify that Montazeri was only acknowledging low morale patrols but not confirming their abolition. No other regime official has indicated the end of the patrol.

More details about the alleged abolition  

The prosecutor Montazeri was at a religious event on Sunday when he was asked if the morality police were being disbanded.

  • “The morality police had nothing to do with the judiciary and has been shut down from where it was installed,” he said.
  • On Saturday, Montazeri also told the Iranian parliament that the law requiring women to wear hijabs will be reviewed.
  • An Iranian lawmaker had told state media that Iran’s government was “paying attention to the real demands of the people.” 

The announcement, seen as an attempt to quell the Amini protests, which have left hundreds dead in repression and violence, came a day after authorities revealed they were reviewing the 1983 law on mandatory headscarves.

The rule was adopted four years after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, which toppled a British-backed monarchy and established a republic ruled by unelected Muslim clerics and lower-ranking elected officials.

Iranian journalist and activist Masih Alinejad tweeted her argument, calling the abolition announcement “disinformation.”

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Iran morality police

What does this mean?

Even if the morality police are shut down, this does not mean the decades-old law will be changed. 

  • If the reports of the agency are confirmed, it would be a concession, but there are no guarantees that it will be enough to stop the protests.
  • “The fact that the government has decided to dismantle the morality police does not mean that the protests are ending,” an Iranian woman told the BBC World Service’s Newshour programme.
  • “What we have is a revolution. The Hijab was the beginning and we want nothing, nothing less than the death of the dictator and a change of regime”, said another woman. 

Three months of protests

On September 16, a 22-year-old Kurdish girl, Mahsa Amini, died in custody. She had been arrested by the moral police for allegedly misusing her veil. According to the activists and her family, the woman died after being beaten, but the authorities explained her death due to pre-existing health problems.

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