Tehran: Iran has suspended its so-called morality police, which penalised women for not adhering to a stringent dress code, the Iranian prosecutor general said after the anti-hijab protest continued into the third month, triggered by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after she was detained by the police force.
Iran's Attorney General Mohammad Javad Montazeri said that the morality police "was abolished by the same authorities who installed it," The New York Times reported. He made this statement during the meeting where officials were discussing the unrest ignited by the death of the young woman, Mahsa Amini, 22, in September in the custody of the morality police. The unrest has amounted to one of the biggest challenges in decades to Iran's system of authoritarian clerical rule.
However, Montazeri went on to suggest that the judiciary would still enforce restrictions on "social behavior."
On Thursday, the attorney general said that the authorities were reviewing the law requiring women to cover their bodies in long, loose clothing and their hair with a head scarf or hijab and would issue a decision within 15 days. But it was not immediately clear whether the authorities were planning to relax the law, which remains in place, according to The New York Times.
The absence of any official government statement on disbanding the force left some to question where the policy stood exactly. But by late Sunday, the authorities had not issued a denial on state media outlets either, even after the attorney general's remarks were widely reported by the international news media.
Abolishing the morality police would have a major impact on the state's ability to control what women wear.
According to Norway's Iran Human Rights group, 60 of the 448 verified fatalities were minors under 18, including nine girls. Another 29 victims were women. According to the report, security personnel have murdered 16 people in the past week alone, 12 of them were killed in Kurdish-populated areas where demonstrations have been particularly violent.
The number of fatalities has also increased since the deaths of those who were slain in prior weeks were confirmed and included, the rights group said adding that the death toll solely includes civilians murdered in the crackdown, not security personnel.
More than 300 individuals had been slain, according to Brigadier General Amirali Hajjizadeh of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps earlier on Tuesday. This was the first time the government had confirmed such a number, Arab News reported.
Earlier on Thursday, India abstained from voting on a United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution to set up a fact-finding mission to investigate the alleged Human Rights violation committed on protesters in Iran that started on September 16.
Taking to Twitter, United Nations Human Right Council said, "At its 35th special session, the @UN Human Rights Council decided to create a new fact-finding mission to investigate "alleged #HumanRightsViolations in the Islamic Republic of #Iran related to the protests that began on 16 September 2022."