Iran Abolishes Morality Police Amidst Nationwide Protests

Iran Abolishes Morality Police Amidst Nationwide Protests

Iran will abolish its "morality police" after two and a half months of nationwide protests that began in September following the tragic death of a 22-year-old girl, Mahsa Amini, who was arrested in Tehran for allegedly wearing her hijab incorrectly.

After images of Amini, bruised and beaten, emerged online, Iranians, led by women and young people, took to the streets in unprecedented numbers against the morality police and by extension, nation's clerics who have ruled Iran since 1979.

As reported by the New York Times, the Iranian government announced late on Saturday night that it would dismantle the morality police. According to state media reports, the country's attorney general Mohammad Javad Montazeri said in a meeting that the force “was abolished by the same authorities who installed it."

Established 15 years ago, the morality police has been known for its focus on enforcing Islamic women's dress codes, in some cases sending alleged violators to re-education centers. Its dismantling symbolizes a victory for Iranian feminists and their allies, though questions remain about the fate of laws surrounding women's clothing, which remain in effect.

Last week, Montazeri said that the government would review and make a decision in 15 days regarding the laws that require women to completely cover their bodies and hair. There has not yet been an official statement regarding this decision, and on Saturday, Montazeri alluded to some continued restrictions on “social behavior.”

According to the US-based group Human Rights Activists in Iran, over 450 civilians and 60 security forces have been killed during the unrest.

Photo via Getty Images / AFP