February 8, 2023

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Iranian regime abolishes morality police

This gesture of power towards women and protesters comes ahead of three days of strikes and demonstrations.

It is a gesture – first – towards governance Opponents. But that shouldn’t be enough to quell their anger. On Sunday, the Isna news agency announced that the revolutionary judiciary, in the person of Attorney General Mohammad Zafar Montaseri, the “guardian of morals” earlier in the day, half of the power in the wake of the rebellion launched two months ago, “has been abolished by those who created it”.

Called the “Orientation Patrol,” the police were created under the ultra-conservative president. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (2005-2013), mandated to “spread the culture of decency and hijab” in the Islamic Republic of Iran for more than forty years. It was this charity police that arrested him on September 13 Mahza Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd in Tehran accused her of not wearing the veil properly. Her death three days later – after succumbing to a blow, according to her family – sparked a wave of protests, during which women burned their veils, chanting “Woman, life, freedom. »

They are joined by students from across the country and residents of Kurdistan and Baluchistan provinces. Resistance movement Unprecedented scale and duration since the advent of revolutionary rule in 1979.

Despite the deaths of more than 400 demonstrators, more than 15,000 arrests and bloody repression, especially in the outer provinces, the regime was unable to quell popular anger and popular fatigue. Until now, he had only chosen oppression in the face of his enemies.

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“It’s a victory for the demonstrators”, assesses Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, head of a think tank in London, although he believes that “the offer does not meet the demands of the protesters deeper than wearing sails”. Faced with a power that has been unable to reform itself for years, many of them are calling for the regime to fall.
Although significant divisions among Islamic Republic officials have not surfaced publicly, “some Revolutionary Guards (the most powerful elite unit in charge of protecting the regime) have criticized the Morality Force for behavior that threatens the survival of the regime,” Academician and Iran say. Expert Jonathan Biron.

First offer

Before the ultra-conservative presidential election Ibrahim Raisi In June 2021, it was not unusual to see women covering their heads for a few moments, which did not incur the wrath of a religious police, but on the other hand, it became more intrusive for a year and a half. . The Attorney General also announced that Parliament and another body led by President Raisi are working to change the law on the veil, without specifying in what direction the text will be changed within two weeks.

According to some parliamentary sources, the police can suspend all arrests and impose fines for disobeying the veil. In recent weeks, more and more Iranian women, especially young women, have been walking around without police reaction, without a face veil, or even a modest headscarf.
The announcements come amid calls for three days of protests and strikes starting Monday. According to Jonathan Biron, “the regime is trying to mobilize the demonstrators, but because there is no violation within it, it basically won’t back down”. His opponents, however, have shown that the Street is pressing. Although, according to researcher Farhad Khosrogawar, “their movement has suffered a certain decline in recent days,” it would be interesting to examine the impact of this first offer of power on mobilization.

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