Whether Iran’s morality police had been shut down in response to months of protests over its recent behaviour remained unclear on Monday.
The head of Iran’s judiciary, Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, said the morality police, known as the Gasht-e-Ershad, had been suspended. He also said there would be a review of dress code enforcement, which is one of the unit’s major functions.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian failed to give a clear response when questioned Sunday about whether the morality police had been disbanded.
An Iranian-Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, 22, was arrested for violating Iran’s strict dress code for women in September, resulting in her death while in police custody. This triggered the present demonstrations.
People stroll past a mural in Tehran, Iran.
The morality police, which is part of Iran’s Interior Ministry, has not yet announced whether it will halt operations as of Monday morning.
The state media reported that neither the attorney general nor the judiciary branch of the government, which he works for, was responsible for monitoring the force.
Iran experts and activists were quick to express doubt about reports that Tehran had done away with the police force, with some asserting that it was a ruse by the regime to gain sympathy before Wednesday’s Student Day protests.
A referendum can be held on any issue except the country’s ‘non-revisable principles,’ which include the state’s official religion.
Image Credit: Iranian President