The Iranian attorney general appeared to indicate that the country’s morality police might be a thing of the past, but then local reporting indicated that rumors of the organization’s demise might be greatly exaggerated.
Attorney General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri spoke about the Guidance Patrol, which handles issues like dress code enforcement, while at a religious conference, according to the BBC.
“The morality police had nothing to do with the judiciary and have been shut down from where they were set up,” Montazeri reportedly said, adding that the judicial system would “monitor behavioral actions at the community level.”
Local media then said Montazeri’s words were “misinterpreted,” the outlet reported.
Recent protests against the Islamic regime in Iran followed the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died in September after she was reportedly beaten by the morality police for not wearing a hijab.
An end to the morality police would indicate that Tehran is giving in to protesters to a degree, but Foreign Desk Editor-in-Chief Lisa Daftari says this is exactly the impression that Iran’s leaders want to give.
“Many woke up to the news that Iran will be dismantling its so-called morality police and believed that shutting down this particular arm of the regime would and could bring about significant change and reform to Iran,” Daftari said. “That is what the regime wants people, including the West, to believe, which is why it would circulate such a rumor.”
Daftari opined that even if the morality police really is a thing of the past, this would not be enough to change things on the ground.
“The Iranian people are not going to be assuaged with any reforms at this point,” she said. “They have proved to themselves and the world that they are after regime change and will not be satisfied with anything short of that.”