Iran has scrapped its morality police units after more than two months of protests sparked by the arrest and death of Mahsa Amini, who allegedly violated the country’s strict female dress code, local media say.
“The morality police has nothing to do with the judiciary” and has been abolished, said Iranian Attorney General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, quoted by the ISNA news agency.
The attorney general also said Iran’s parliament is considering repealing the law requiring the wearing of hijab, a rare sign that the Islamic theocracy is making concessions over the protesters.
The morality police, known as the Gasht-e Ershad or “Guidance Patrol,” arrested Kurdish 22-year-old Mahsa Amini more than two months ago and sparked violent protests across the country when she died days later.
Iran has scrapped its morality police after more than two months of protests over the arrest of Mahsa Amini for allegedly violating the country’s strict dress code for women.
The vice squad, known as the Gasht-e Ershad or ‘Guidance Patrol’, arrested Kurdish 22-year-old Mahsa Amini more than two months ago. She died at Kasra Hospital in Iran after being arrested by vice squad for her allegedly inappropriate hijab
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi gestures during the 43rd anniversary of the US expulsion from Iran.
The unit was established in 2006 under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to “spread the culture of modesty and hijab,” responsible for enforcing Iran’s strict Islamic dress code.
The news came after Iran said on Saturday it is revising a decades-old law requiring women to cover their heads as it struggles to quell more than two months of protests related to the dress code.
Protests have erupted in Iran since the September 16 death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian of Kurdish descent who was arrested by vice squad for allegedly violating sharia-based law.
Protesters burned their head coverings and shouted slogans against the government.
Since Amini’s death, a growing number of women no longer wear the hijab, especially in the fashionable north of Tehran.
“Both the parliament and the judiciary are working (on the issue)” whether to change the law, Iran’s attorney general Mohammad Jafar Montazeri said.
Human rights groups said security forces used batons, tear gas, water cannons, rubber bullets and live ammunition in certain regions during past protests in September
Dozens of people hold a demonstration to protest the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in Tehran, Iran, on September 21, 2022
Quoted by the ISNA news agency, he did not specify what could be changed in the law by the two bodies, which are largely held by conservatives.
The assessment team met with parliament’s cultural committee on Wednesday “and will see the results in a week or two,” the attorney general said.
President Ebrahim Raisi said on Saturday that Iran’s republican and Islamic foundations are constitutionally enshrined.
“But there are methods of implementing the constitution that can be flexible,” he said in televised comments.
The hijab headscarf became mandatory for all women in Iran in April 1983, four years after the Islamic revolution that overthrew the US-backed monarchy.
It remains a highly sensitive issue in a country where conservatives insist it should be mandatory, while reformists want to leave it to individual choice.
The hijab headscarf became mandatory for all women in Iran in April 1983, four years after the Islamic revolution that overthrew the US-backed monarchy
After the hijab law became mandatory, with changing dress standards it became commonplace to see women in tight jeans and loose, colorful headscarves.
But in July this year, Raisi, an ultra-conservative, called for the mobilization of “all state institutions to enforce the headscarf law.”
However, many women continued to bend the rules.
In September, Iran’s main reformist party called for the mandatory headscarf law to be repealed.
The Union of Islamic Iran People Party, formed by relatives of former reformist president Mohammad Khatami, demanded on Saturday that authorities “prepare the legal elements that will pave the way for the cancellation of the mandatory hijab law.”
The opposition group also calls on the Islamic Republic to “officially announce the end of vice police activities” and “allow peaceful demonstrations,” it said in a statement.
Iran accuses its sworn enemy the United States and its allies, including Britain, Israel and Kurdish groups outside the country, of inciting street protests the government calls “riots.”
A general of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said for the first time this week that more than 300 people have been killed in the unrest since Amini’s death.
Iran’s highest security body, the Supreme National Security Council, said on Saturday that the number of people killed in the protests was “more than 200.”
Quoted by the state news agency IRNA, it said the number included security officers, civilians and “separatists” and “rioters.”
The Oslo-based nongovernmental organization Iran Human Rights said on Tuesday that at least 448 people “have been killed by security forces during the ongoing nationwide protests.”
UN rights chief Volker Turk said last week that 14,000 people, including children, had been arrested during the protest.
The arrest campaign has trapped athletes, celebrities and journalists.
One of the most recent arrests was film star Mitra Hajjar, who was held in her home on Saturday, according to the reformist Shargh newspaper.
The Supreme National Security Council said that in addition to the human toll, the violence had caused damage worth trillions of rials (millions of dollars).
General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the commander of the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard’s aerospace division, said more than 300 people were killed in recent Iranian protests.