But they will still enforce restrictions on “social behavior,” and the hijab law is still in place. So this is just a cosmetic change designed to fool people both inside and outside the country into thinking that the Islamic Republic is reforming. But it isn’t. It also shows, however, that the protests have the mullahs deeply worried. They’re hoping this move will calm everyone down. It shouldn’t.
“Iran Abolishes Morality Police After Months of Protests,” by Vivian Yee, New York Times, December 4, 2022:
Iran has abolished the morality police, according to an announcement by the attorney general carried on state media, following months of protests set off by the death of a young woman who was being held by the force for supposedly violating the country’s strict Islamic dress laws.
The decision, reported by state news outlets late Saturday night, appeared to be a major victory for feminists who have sought for years to dismantle the force and for the protest movement ignited by the death of the young woman, Mahsa Amini, 22, in September. The unrest has amounted to one of the biggest challenges in decades to Iran’s system of authoritarian clerical rule and the decision to scrap the morality police was the government’s first major concession to the protesters.
The morality police “was abolished by the same authorities who installed it,” the statement by Attorney General Mohammad Javad Montazeri said, according to state media reports. But he went on to suggest that the judiciary would still enforce restrictions on “social behavior.” He also indicated that the authorities were reviewing the head scarf regulations.
But it was not immediately clear what impact these changes would have on enforcement of the dress code going forward or whether the authorities were planning to relax the hijab law, which remained in place.
The primary role of the morality police was to enforce the laws related to Iran’s conservative Islamic dress code, imposed after the 1979 Islamic Revolution and recently invigorated by the country’s new ultraconservative president. The dress code for women became an ideological pillar of the ruling clerical establishment, central to its identity….