It was the morality police who arrested Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd, in Tehran on September 13, accusing her of not respecting the dress code of the Islamic Republic, which requires women to wear the veil. in public.
His death was announced three days later. Activists and her family say Mahsa Amini died after being beaten, but authorities have linked her death to health issues, which her parents have denied.
Her death triggered a wave of demonstrations during which women, spearheads of the protest, took off and burned their headscarves, shouting “Woman, life, freedom”.
Despite the repression that left hundreds dead, the protest movement continues.
“The morality police (…) have been abolished by those who created it,” Attorney General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri announced on Saturday evening, quoted by the Isna news agency on Sunday.
“The best way to deal with riots is to pay attention to the real demands of the people”, most of them related “to livelihoods and economic issues”, spokesman for the Presidency of Parliament, Seyyed, said on Sunday. Nezamoldin Moussavi, quoted by Isna.
The announcement of the abolition of the morality police was greeted with skepticism by Iranians on social networks, one Internet user fearing that his role would be taken over by another structure, another recalling the social pressure exerted within even families.
After 1979, “Islamic Revolution Committees” under the Revolutionary Guards, the ideological army of the Islamic Republic, conducted patrols to enforce the dress code and “morals” in Iran.
But the morality police were created by the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution under ultra-conservative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (2005-2013), to “spread the culture of decency and the hijab”.
This unit had started its patrols in 2006 with the objective of enforcing the strict dress code which also prohibits women from wearing tight pants or shorts.
Women breaking the code risked being arrested.
Last July, ultra-conservative President Ebrahim Raisi called for the mobilization of “all institutions to strengthen the law on the veil”, declaring that “the enemies of Iran and Islam wanted to undermine the cultural and religious values of the society “.
Nevertheless, under the tenure of his moderate predecessor Hassan Rohani, one could come across women in tight jeans wearing colorful veils.
On Saturday, the same prosecutor, Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, announced that “Parliament and the judiciary were working” on the issue of compulsory veiling, without specifying what could be changed in the law.
This is an ultra-sensitive issue in Iran, on which two camps clash: that of the conservatives who brace themselves on the 1983 law and that of the progressives who want to give women the right to choose wear it or not.
According to the current law, Iranian and foreign women, regardless of their religion, must wear a veil and loose clothing in public.
Since the death of Mahsa Amini and the demonstrations that followed, a growing number of women are uncovering their heads, especially in the upscale north of Tehran.
On September 24, a week after the protests began, Iran’s main reform party urged the state to rescind the headscarf requirement.
The authorities consider the demonstrations as “riots” and accuse foreign forces of being behind this movement to destabilize the country.
According to a latest report provided by General Amirali Hajizadeh, of the Revolutionary Guard Corps, there have been more than 300 deaths during the demonstrations since September 16.