Iran has scrapped its morality police after more than two months of protests triggered by the death-in-custody of Mahsa Amini for allegedly violating the country’s strict female dress code, local media said on Sunday.
“Morality police have nothing to do with the judiciary” and have been abolished, Attorney General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri was quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency.
His comment came at a religious conference where he responded to a participant who asked “why the morality police were being shut down”, the report said.
The morality police — known formally as the Gasht-e Ershad or “Guidance Patrol” — were established under hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to “spread the culture of modesty and hijab”, the female head covering. The units began patrols in 2006.
The announcement of their abolition came a day after Montazeri said that “both parliament and the judiciary are working (on the issue)” of whether the law requiring women to cover their heads needs to be changed.
President Ebrahim Raisi said in televised comments on Saturday that Iran’s republican and Islamic foundations were constitutionally entrenched “but there are methods of implementing the constitution that can be flexible”.
More than 300 people have been killed in the unrest, including dozens of security force members, an Iranian general said on Monday. Thousands have been arrested, among them around 40 foreigners.
Iran accuses the United States and its allies — including Britain, Israel, and Kurdish groups based outside the country — of fomenting the street violence, which the government calls “riots”.
Iran’s judiciary has already confirmed six death sentences over the protests, and rights group Amnesty International says that, based on official reports, at least 21 people currently on trial are charged with crimes that could see them hanged.