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Iran abolishes morality police months after Mahsa Amini's death sparked anti-hijab protests

Firstpost logo Firstpost 04-12-2022 FP Staff
Iran abolishes morality police months after Mahsa Amini's death sparked anti-hijab protests © Provided by Firstpost Iran abolishes morality police months after Mahsa Amini's death sparked anti-hijab protests

Iran on Sunday abolished its notorious morality police that is tasked with enforcing the strict mandatory hijab law, AFP quoted the country’s prosecutor general as saying.

This comes months after 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died following her arrest by the notorious unit.

Her death on 16 September sparked the ongoing nationwide protests in Iran that have challenged the Islamic regime’s authority.

Iran to review hijab law

In another move signaling that the government is under pressure as protests continue, the country on Saturday said it was reviewing a decades-old law that requires women to cover their heads.

Demonstrators have burned their head coverings and shouted anti-government slogans. Since Amini’s death, a growing number of women have not been observing hijab, particularly in Tehran’s fashionable north.

“Both parliament and the judiciary are working (on the issue)” of whether the law needs any changes, Iran’s attorney general Mohammad Jafar Montazeri said.

Quoted by the ISNA news agency, he did not specify what could be modified in the law by the two bodies, which are largely in the hands of conservatives.

The review team met on Wednesday with parliament’s cultural commission “and will see the results in a week or two”, the attorney general said.

President Ebrahim Raisi on Saturday said Iran’s republican and Islamic foundations were constitutionally entrenched.

“But there are methods of implementing the constitution that can be flexible,” he said in televised comments.

The hijab headscarf became obligatory for all women in Iran in April 1983, four years after the Islamic Revolution that overthrew the US-backed monarchy.

It remains a highly sensitive issue in a country where conservatives insist it should be compulsory, while reformists want to leave it up to individual choice.

Hundreds killed in protests

Meanwhile, human rights groups say that nearly 448 protesters have been killed in the crackdown by the security forces. It is also estimated that 14,000 people continue to remain in jail in connection with the protests.

After the hijab law became mandatory, with changing clothing norms it became commonplace to see women in tight jeans and loose, colourful headscarves.

But in July this year Raisi, an ultra-conservative, called for mobilisation of “all state institutions to enforce the headscarf law”.

Many women continued to bend the rules, however.

In September, Iran’s main reformist party called for the mandatory hijab law to be rescinded.

The Union of Islamic Iran People Party, formed by relatives of former reformist president Mohammad Khatami, on Saturday demanded the authorities “prepare the legal elements paving the way for the cancellation of the mandatory hijab law”.

The opposition group is also calling for the Islamic republic to “officially announce the end of the activities of the morality police” and “allow peaceful demonstrations”, it said in a statement.

With inputs from agencies

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