Iran activists, US brush off claim morality police abolished

December 06, 2022

PARIS: Iranian activists and Western nations on Monday dismissed a claim that the protest-hit Islamic republic is disbanding its notorious morality police, insisting there was no change to women´s rights.

There were also calls on social media for a three-day strike in Iran, culminating Wednesday on the annual Student Day, nearly three months into a nationwide wave of unrest sparked by the death in custody of Kurdish-Iranian woman Mahsa Amini.

Morality police officers had arrested Amini, 22, in Tehran for allegedly flouting Iran´s strict dress code demanding women wear modest clothing and the hijab headscarf. “Nothing we have seen suggests Iran´s leadership is improving its treatment of women and girls or ceasing the violence it inflicts on peaceful protesters,” the US State Department said.

Germany´s foreign ministry said Iranian protesters “want to live freely and in self-determination”, and disbanding the morality police, “if it is implemented, won´t change that”. Amini´s death on September 16 triggered women-led protests that have spiralled into the biggest challenge to the regime since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Hundreds of Iranians, including some members of the security forces, have been killed.

In a surprise move over the weekend, Iran´s Prosecutor General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri was quoted as saying that the morality police units -- known formally as Gasht-e Ershad (“Guidance Patrol”) -- had been closed down.