On Saturday, December 3, Iran’s Attorney General, Mohammad Jafar Montazeri stated that Iran’s morality police was “abolished.” This announcement comes after months of civilians protesting the death of Mahsa Amini. Thousands of protestors have been arrested.
The morality police, or “Gasht-e Ershad,” is the police force that ensures the proper dress of Iranian citizens, including women’s head coverings and loose clothing. If the rules are violated, the force gives women a verbal warning or takes them to “re-education centers,” according to Aljazeera. Although the morality police are the primary enforcers of the dress code, the government also uses other methods.
Recently, Iranians have noticed the absence of the police force and their infamous white and green vans in various cities. Reporters asked Mohammad Jafar Montazeri why the police were shut down. He responded that as Attorney General, he is not responsible for the force as it falls within the responsibilities of the government rather than his. He added that the group was indeed disbanded, but “from the same place it was launched” rather than the judiciary. His statement indicates the acknowledgment of a suspension of the task force by the Iranian government and police. The national forces have not yet confirmed or denied the assumption and no official statement has been made. Nevertheless, women can walk around Tehran without a headscarf, and the police’s absence is evident.
Iranian demonstrators continue to protest in the streets despite the possible change, explaining that banning the police force is not enough. Despite the absence of the morality force, state executions continue, Deutsche Welle explained. According to DW, some people believe it is possible that the police force is continuing under a different name.
“A revolution is what we have,” an anonymous protester told the BBC. “Hijab was the start of it and we don’t want anything, anything less, but death for the dictator and a regime change,” she says.
Featured image by: Middle East Eye