Iran morality police status still unclear after ‘closure’ comment

Nationwide anti-government protests have erupted following the death of a woman three days after she was arrested by Iran’s ethics police.

CAIRO, Egypt — An Iranian lawmaker said Sunday that the Iranian government is “paying attention to the real needs of the people,” state media reported, a day after a top official The first to argue that the country’s ethics police whose behavior helped trigger months of protests has been shut down.

The role of the ethics police, which enforces cover-ups, came under scrutiny after a detainee, 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, died in custody in mid-September. Amini was detained for accused of violating the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code. Her death sparked a wave of unrest that has grown into calls to overthrow Iran’s clerical rulers.

Iran’s chief prosecutor, Mohamed Jafar Montazeri, on Saturday said the ethics police “have been shut down”, the semi-official news agency ISNA reported. The agency did not provide details and state media did not report on such a purported decision.

In a report produced by ISNA on Sunday, lawmaker Nezamoddin Mousavi signaled a less confrontational approach to the protests.

“Both the government and parliament have affirmed that paying attention to the needs of the people, mainly the economy, is the best way to achieve stability and face riots,” he said after the closed-door meeting. with several high-ranking Iranian officials, including President Ebrahim Raisi.

Mousavi did not mention the reported ethics police shutdown.

The Associated Press could not confirm the current status of the force, which was established in 2005 with the task of arresting those who violate the country’s Muslim dress code.

Since September, there have been reports of a decrease in the number of ethical policemen across Iranian cities and an increase in women walking in public without wearing a headscarf, contrary to Iranian law. .

Montazeri, the chief prosecutor, did not provide further details on the future of the ethics police or whether its closure would be nationwide and permanent. However, he added that the Iranian judiciary would “continue to monitor behavior at the community level”.

In an ISNA report on Friday, Montazeri was quoted as saying that the government is considering a mandatory hijab law. “We’re working quickly on the hijab issue and we’re doing our best to come up with a thoughtful solution to deal with this heart-wrenching phenomenon,” Montazeri said.

Saturday’s announcement could signal an attempt to placate the public and find a way to end protests in which human rights groups say at least 470 people have been killed. According to human rights activists in Iran, a group that monitors the protests, more than 18,000 people were arrested during the protests and the violent crackdown by security forces that followed.

Ali Alfoneh, a senior fellow at the Institute of Arab Gulf States in Washington, said Montazeri’s announcement of an ethical police shutdown could be an attempt to defuse unrest in the country without did not really give in to the protesters.

“The secular middle class abhors the organization (moral police) for restricting individual liberties,” Alfoneh said. On the other hand, “socially conservative and disadvantaged classes resent how easily they avoid the enforcement of hijab laws” in the wealthier parts of Iran’s Cities

Asked about Montazeri’s statement, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian did not give a direct answer. “Make sure that in Iran, within the framework of democracy and freedom that exists very clearly in Iran, everything is going very well,” Amirabdollahian said during a visit to Belgrade, Serbia.

The anti-government protests, now in their third month, show no signs of stopping despite a violent crackdown. Protesters say they are fed up after decades of social and political repression, including a strict dress code for women. Young women continued to play a leading role in the protests, removing the mandatory Muslim headscarf in protest against the clerical regime.

After the outbreak of protests, the Iranian government appeared unwilling to heed the protesters’ demands. It has continued to suppress protesters, including sentenced to death at least seven arrested protesters. Authorities continued to blame the unrest on hostile foreign forces without providing evidence.

But in recent days, Iranian state media platforms seem to be adopting a more conciliatory tone, expressing a desire to participate in solving the problems of the Iranian people. Iran morality police status still unclear after ‘closure’ comment

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