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the morality police have been abolished

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Iran has announced the abolition of the morality police responsible for the arrest of the young Mahsa Amini, whose death in custody has provoked a wave of protest in Iran which has lasted for nearly three months.

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The announcement, seen as a gesture towards protesters, came after authorities decided on Saturday to revise a 1983 law on compulsory veiling in Iran, imposed four years after the 1979 Islamic revolution.

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It was the morality police who arrested Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd, in Tehran on September 13, accusing her of not respecting the strict dress code in the Islamic Republic, which requires women to wear the veil in audience.

His death was announced three days later. Activists and her family say Mahsa Amini died after being beaten, but authorities have linked her death to health issues, which her parents have denied.

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His death triggered a wave of demonstrations during which women, spearheads of the protest, took off and burned their headscarves, shouting “Woman, life, freedom”. Despite the repression that left hundreds dead, the protest movement continues. “The morality police (…) has been abolished by those who created it”Attorney General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri said on Saturday evening, quoted by the Isna news agency on Sunday.

Font created by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

This police force, known as the Gasht-e Ershad (Orientation Patrols), was created under ultra-conservative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to “spread the culture of decency and hijab”. It is made up of men in green uniforms and women wearing the black chador, which covers the head and upper body.

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This unit began its first patrols in 2006. The role of the vice police has evolved over the years, but it has always been divided, even among presidential candidates. Under moderate President Hassan Rouhani, you could see women in tight jeans wearing colorful veils.

But last July, his successor, the ultra-conservative Ebrahim Raïssi, called for the mobilization of “all institutions to strengthen the law on the veil”stating that “the enemies of Iran and Islam wanted to undermine the cultural and religious values ​​of society by spreading corruption”. Women who violated the Islamic Republic of Iran’s strict dress code risked being picked up by this unit.

Law on the veil, an ultra-sensitive question

On Saturday, the same prosecutor, Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, announced that “Parliament and the judiciary were working” on the issue of compulsory veiling, without specifying what could be changed in the law.

This is an ultra-sensitive issue in Iran, on which two camps clash: that of the conservatives who brace themselves on the 1983 law and that of the progressives who want to give women the right to choose wear it or not.

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According to the law in force since 1983, Iranian and foreign women, regardless of their religion, must wear a veil and loose clothing in public. Since the death of Mahsa Amini and the demonstrations that followed, a growing number of women are uncovering their heads, especially in the upscale north of Tehran.

On September 24, a week after the protests began, Iran’s main reform party urged the state to rescind the veil requirement. Iran, which sees most of the demonstrations as “riots”, notably accuses foreign forces of being behind this movement to destabilize the country. According to a latest report provided by Iranian General Amirali Hajizadeh of the Revolutionary Guard Corps, there have been more than 300 deaths in protests since September 16.

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