According to local media, Iran has abolished its morality police following more than two months of protests sparked by the detention of Mahsa Amini for allegedly breaching the country’s strict female clothing code. Women-led protests, dubbed “riots” by the authorities, have swept Iran since the death in jail of a 22-year-old Iranian of Kurdish heritage on September 16, three days after her arrest by Tehran’s morality police.
Demonstrators have burned their mandated hijab head coverings. They also yelled anti-government slogans, and since Amini’s death. Also, an increasing number of women, notably in Tehran, have refused to wear the hijab. The morality police, known formally as the Gasht-e Ershad or “Guidance Patrol” under hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was founded to “promote the culture of modesty and hijab.”
The units were established by Iran’s Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution, which is led by President Ebrahim Raisi today. They started patrolling in 2006 to enforce the dress code. It also requires women to wear long clothes and prohibits shorts, ripped jeans, and other immodest clothing.
The news about the dismantling of the units came a day after Montazeri’s statement. As per the statement, both parliament and the courts are working on whether the law requiring women to cover their heads should have any modifications.
Hijab Became Mandatory
Four years after the 1979 revolution that deposed the US-backed monarchy and established the Islamic Republic of Iran, the hijab became mandatory. Morality policemen first issued warnings before cracking down and arresting women 15 years ago.
The vice squads were composing of men in green uniforms and women in black chadors. It covers their heads and upper bodies. The role of the units varied, but it has always been contentious, even among presidential contenders.
Clothing conventions have evolved, particularly under former moderate president Hassan Rouhani. It is when women were wearing tight trousers and loose, colorful headscarves. However, Raisi called for the mobilization of “all state institutions to execute the headscarf law” in July of this year.
Despite this, many women continued to break the regulations. This allowed their headscarves to fall onto their shoulders or wear tight-fitting jeans, particularly in major cities and towns. Saudi Arabia, Iran’s regional adversary, also used morality police to enforce female dress standards and other rules of behavior. Since 2016, the force faces neglect as the Sunni Muslim nation attempts to shed its austere image.
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