Iran claims to have abolished the controversial ‘Morality Police’ after months of unprecedented anti-hijab protests.
According to ISNA news agency, Iran’s attorney general Mohammad Jafar Montazeri said that “Morality police have nothing to do with the judiciary” and have been abolished. This comes as protests have raged across Iran prompting confrontations between demonstrators and security forces for more than two months of protests triggered by the arrest of Mahsa Amini for allegedly violating the country’s strict female dress code.
However, according to CNN, Iran’s Attorney General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri said Thursday that Iran’s parliament and judiciary are reviewing the country’s mandatory hijab law, according to pro-reform outlet Entekhab. Montazeri was also quoted as saying Iran’s feared morality police had been “abolished” but Iranian state media strongly pushed back on those comments, saying the interior ministry oversees the force, not the judiciary.
Arab-language Al-Alam state television claimed foreign media were depicting Montazeri’s comments as “a retreat on the part of the Islamic Republic from its stance on hijab and religious morality as a result of the protests”, but that all that could be understood from his comments was that the morality police were not directly related to the judiciary.
“But no official of the Islamic Republic of Iran has said that the Guidance Patrol has been shut,” Al-Alam said Sunday afternoon. “Some foreign media have attempted to interpret these words by the prosecutor-general as the Islamic Republic retreating from the issue of Hijab and modesty and claim that it is due to the recent riots.”
On the hijab law, Montazeri said, “We know you feel anguished when you witness [women] without a hijab in cities, do you think the officials are silent about it? As someone who is in the field of this issue, I say that both the parliament and the judiciary are working, for example, just yesterday we had a meeting with the cultural commission of the parliament, and you will see the results within the next week or two,” as quoted by ISNA, state-affiliated media.
But there is no evidence of what, if any, changes could be forthcoming to the law, which came into effect after the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
News that Iran has handed a victory to protesters and abolished its morality police is being reported by all the major American news outlets, but some Iranian journalists are calling the move “disinformation” and “a PR stunt,” claiming the Sunday announcement by Attorney General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri is “a tactic to stop the uprising” that has, for three months, seen fed-up Iranians take to the street and more than 300 people killed.
The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Bloomberg, and many other news sources declared on Sunday that Iran’s AG, while speaking at a religious conference, was asked if the morality police, which enforces Iran’s Islamic dress code, including hijabs, would be disbanded.
“The morality police had nothing to do with the judiciary and have been shut down from where they were set up,” he reportedly replied.
The New York Times took to Twitter and called it “a significant victory for feminists who have sought for years to dismantle the morality police.”
But according to Iranian journalist and activist Masih Alinejad, the international media shouldn’t fall for the story.
It’s disinformation that Islamic Republic of Iran has abolished it’s morality police. It’s a tactic to stop the uprising.
Protesters are not facing guns and bullets to abolish morality police or forced hijab.They want to end Islamic regime.#MahsaAmini
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) December 4, 2022