On Dec. 3, Iran’s Attorney General Mohammad Javad Montazeri made remarks indicating the morality police will be suspended.
Montazeri spoke during a religious conference on Saturday “where officials were discussing the unrest” following the death of Mahsa Amini while in the custody of the morality police for improperly wearing her hijab, violating the country’s strict dress codes.
After protests that began in Iran, the movement has reached international attention on social media. Protesters have made it clear they are demanding change, even beyond dress codes. Demonstrators have protested openly against “political repression, censorship, corruption and economic mismanagement,” calling for “an end to the Islamic Republic.”
Amini’s death was the tipping point for Iranian protesters who have been disappointed with the state of Iran for quite some time. As violence has progressed, so has the intensity of protests. And despite promises of reform, demonstrators are not stopping. One woman told BBC News that “a revolution is what we have” and they will not stop for anything but “death for the dictator and a regime change.”
Iranian human rights groups have reported at least 400 deaths since protests began, including 50 minors. The United Nations reports around 14,000 people have been arrested by the morality police in the past three months.
Officers were tasked with enforcing dress codes for all citizens, including the requirement that women cover their hair and wear loose clothing.
The morality police, known formally as “Gasht-e Ershad” (the Islamic guidance patrol) was established in 2006 under president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Officers were tasked with enforcing dress codes for all citizens, including the requirement that women cover their hair and wear loose clothing.
The law codes enforced were imposed after the Islamic Revolution in 1979 and were “recently invigorated by the country’s new ultraconservative president” as authorities cracked down on the dress code for women.
Punishments for not adhering to this dress code ranged from verbal warnings to detainment, with some women being taken to re-education centers. Protesters of the dress codes were threatened with harsh punishments, including executions.
While this is a step forward for freedom in Iran, Montazeri indicated in his remarks that “the judiciary will continue to supervise social behaviors.”
According to the New York Times, Iranian authorities are allegedly “reviewing the country’s head scarf regulations” and will “issue a decision within 15 days.” According to NBC’s report, it seems unclear whether the morality police will be abolished, or if they will “return in some form.”
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