Iran scraps morality police, mulls changes to hijab law

Photo: Fars News

Iranian authorities have abolished the country’s morality police after months of anti-government protests across the country, triggered by the death of Mahsa Amini who died while in the controversial police force’s custody.

According to Iranian media reports on Sunday, Iran’s Attorney General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri announced the decision and said the morality police had “nothing to do with the judiciary”.

Montazeri’s remark was made during a religious event and was in response to a question posed by a participant on the status of the morality police.

On Saturday, the Iranian media meanwhile reported that according to Montazeri, Tehran was reviewing its laws on dress codes for women.

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi also alluded to potential reforms in a televised address on Saturday when he reiterated the link between Iran’s Islamic and republican foundations but added that “there are methods of implementing the constitution that can be flexible.”

Forbes reported that this announcement is likely an effort by the Iranian government to quell protests that have rocked the country since September.

Despite the move, protesters in Iran on Sunday called a three-day strike this week, with protests planned Wednesday, when Raisi will address students in Tehran.

Wednesday is celebrated in Iran as Student Day and to coincide with the day, protesters are calling for strikes by merchants and a rally towards Tehran’s Azadi (Freedom) Square, according to Reuters.

They have also called for three days of boycotting any economic activity starting on Monday.

Similar calls for strike action and mass mobilization have in past weeks resulted in an escalation in the unrest which has swept the country – some of the biggest anti-government protests since Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution

Tehran has however continued its brutal crackdown on protests across the country and as of Sunday, at least 470 protesters had been killed, the US-based Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI) stated.

According to the organization, at least 64 children are among the total number of people killed.

The activist HRANA news agency meanwhile said 18,210 demonstrators had been arrested and 61 members of the security forces were killed since September.

Mahsa Amini died in September after being arrested for violating the country’s strict dress code. According to the UN Human Rights Office, Amini was allegedly “beaten on the head with a baton” and had her head “banged against” the side of the police force’s vehicle. The organization said Amini then fell into a coma and eventually died in hospital.