The Iranian Regime’s ‘Morality Police’ Predicament – OpEd


The Iranian regime, which wanted to give morale to its forces by relaunching the morality police, has tried to use this repressive patrol to impose the mandatory hijab through indirect repressive methods.

On July 26th, the Mizan News Agency, affiliated with the judiciary, wrote, “Following the publication of images in cyberspace regarding the non-observance of the hijab by the employees of the Taqcheh company in the workplace, a court case was filed in this regard.” On the same day, the state-run news website Etemad Online wrote, “The public and revolutionary prosecutor of Damavand city announced the arrest of the manager and employee of a bank in Damavand for providing services to a woman not observing hijab rules.” The prosecutor added, “If the veiled person does not pay attention to the warning and insists on breaking the rule, it is necessary to immediately contact the State Security Force and inform the officers about the matter.”

In Khuzestan, the judicial prosecutor pointed to the social resistance against the mandatory hijab, which he called “social abnormality and non-compliance with Islamic affairs” and said, “These cases will be dealt with appropriately and in instances where commercial facilities and shopping centers do not act according to the regulations their businesses will be sealed.”

Even though in these cases, the morality patrol was not directly involved, the regime is nonetheless using other means to impose its fundamentalist rules. Amnesty International wrote in a report dated July 26, 2023: “The Iranian authorities are doubling down on their oppressive methods of policing and severely oppressing Iranian women and girls for defying degrading compulsory veiling laws. Countless women have been suspended or expelled from universities, barred from sitting final exams, and denied access to banking services and public transport. Hundreds of businesses have been forcibly closed for not enforcing compulsory veiling. The intensified crackdown exposes the dubious nature of the Iranian authorities’ previous claims of disbanding the ‘morality’ police, amid contradictory official statements over its return to Iranian streets.”

Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, also emphasized this issue: “The international community must not stand idly by as the Iranian authorities intensify their oppression of women and girls. The response of states should not be limited to forceful public statements and diplomatic interventions, but also involve the pursuit of legal pathways to hold Iranian officials accountable for ordering, planning, and committing widespread and systematic human rights violations against women and girls through the implementation of compulsory veiling.”

Abbas Salimi Namin, one of the Iranian regime’s former security and press figures, described the chaotic situation of regime supreme leader Ali Khamenei after the September 2022 uprising and stuck with the morality police predicament as such:

“The statements about the return of morality police are contradictory. It seems that no one wants to face the consequences of the return of these patrols and the confrontation with women. The heads of the government, parliament, and the judiciary have explicitly denied the return of the morality police, or they have emphasized the cultural and not the disciplinary approach in the field of hijab.”

Earlier, On July 25th, Moinuddin Saeedi, a member of the Majlis (parliament), said, “We have put the September of 2022 and those events behind us, and this behavior, however is very strange. Those who care about the country and its future, know very well that we have seen the results of these procedures and their damages. Many legal experts also believe that the guidance patrol does not have the necessary legal and legal standards.”

The current chaotic situation shows that on the one hand, the regime wants to continue imposing its repressive rules, but on the other hand, given the explosive state of the society, it fears triggering another round of nationwide protests, something that is bound to happen sooner or later.

This article was published by PMOI/MEK

Sadegh Pashm-Foroush

Sadegh Pashm-Foroush writes for PMOI/MEK

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