On December 4th, Iran’s Attorney General, Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, gave a statement claiming that the country’s notoriously violent morality police has been abolished. Montazeri also said that the mandatory hijab law is under review by Iran’s parliament and judiciary. This news may appear to be a victory for the activists that have been protesting the regime since 22 year old Mahsa Amini’s death in September, however, many remain suspicious of the government’s sudden change of heart.
Iran’s morality police is a law enforcement branch that has been terrorizing citizens since the 1980s to enforce the country’s conservative laws, primarily the hijab requirement. They have been granted access to weapons, detention centers, and unwavering authority over Iranian citizens. The nationwide movement was sparked by Mahsa Amini’s detainment and murder by the morality police for allegedly not wearing her hijab properly. The interior ministry of the government oversees the morality police, specifically the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution headed by President Ebrahim Rais. The judiciary and Attorney General Montazeri do not have any authority in this jurisdiction, contributing to the hesitancy to believe that the police force has truly been dismantled.
It would not come as a surprise if the regime was making empty promises to its people as a desperate strategy to end the ongoing protests. Activists are describing the victory as simply a PR stunt. With the escalation of the protests, the morality police have seemingly disappeared from the streets. Enforcing hijab rules is no longer a priority, as the government scrambles to shut down the uprising, but activists have shown no sign of giving up on their fight for freedom.
Sources: CNN, 12/5/22; Time 12/6/2022