Iran: Attorney General Signals Morality Police to be Disbanded

Iranian Attorney General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri reportedly announced on Saturday that Iran's so-called morality police, the Gasht-e Ershad, is being disbanded. In September, the arrest of Mahsa Amini for allegedly violating the country’s mandatory dress code for women [...]

Iran: Attorney General Signals Morality Police to be Disbanded
Image credit: via The New York Times

Facts

  • Iranian Attorney General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri reportedly announced on Saturday that Iran's so-called morality police, the Gasht-e Ershad, is being disbanded. In September, the arrest of Mahsa Amini for allegedly violating the country’s mandatory dress code for women, and her subsequent death in police custody, led to persistent protests against the Iranian government.
  • Referring to Iran's Interior Ministry, the authority in charge of the morality police, Montazeri said that "the same authority which has established this police has shut it down," according to Iranian media reports. Meanwhile, Iranian protesters on Sunday called for a three-day strike this week over the death of Mahsa Amini.
  • Official confirmation from other government sources on Montazeri's reported statements about the morality police — responsible for monitoring "moral security" — is still pending. The requirement for women to cover their hair with a hijab became mandatory shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
  • Montazeri also reiterated that the judiciary would continue to enforce restrictions on "social behavior." Earlier, he said the dress code law would be reviewed, and a decision issued within 15 days. Meanwhile, the morality police are said to have halted enforcing the law, and other government forces have stepped in.
  • The morality police, established in 2005, is known for patrolling public places to reprimand women for violating Iran's dress code, issuing fines and verbal warnings, and detaining women who break the law. On Sunday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken welcomed the latest reports on the disbanding of the organization but warned against premature optimism.
  • According to human rights groups, more than 400 Iranians have been killed and 15K detained amid the ongoing protests. Washington, the EU, and the UK have imposed sanctions on Iran's morality police in response to Tehran's crackdown against protesters.

Sources: BBC News, Global, Al Jazeera, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.

Narratives

  • Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by Iran Intl. The despotic Iranian regime is finally making concessions due to pressure from the protesters bravely demanding the removal of the current government and all of its oppressive instruments. The potential disbandment of the morality police is an unprecedented move and, as the first major policy reversal from the government, it is a testament to the effectiveness and power of the protests. The demise of the state-enforced hijab would be a resounding victory for the women of Iran.
  • Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by Mehr. A credulous western media has taken the remarks of a government official out of context once again. The Attorney General does not have authority over the morality police, and continues to express his support for the dress code. Reporting has continued to undermine Iran by supporting the violent protests and engaging in information warfare by distorting the facts at hand.

Predictions