Iran’s attorney general has announced that the country is abolishing its morality police, a potential concession after months of protests against the regime.
The morality police “was abolished by the same authorities who installed it,” Attorney General Mohammad Javad Montazeri said Saturday, according to a report from the The New York Times.
The decision would be a major victory for protesters in the country, who have demonstrated across the country for months in response to the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died in police custody after being arrested for not wearing a head covering in public.
The unrest that followed the death became one of the largest challenges to the Iranian regime in decades, spreading across the country and showing few signs of slowing down despite attempts by police to crack down on the demonstrations.
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The crackdowns have resulted in about 400 deaths, according to international rights groups, including 50 minors. Another 30 members of Iran’s security forces have been killed during the demonstrations. Meanwhile, the government issues threats of harsh punishments and executions for public dissent against the regime.
The morality police in Iran have been mainly responsible for enforcing the country’s strict Islamic dress code, which requires women to cover their bodies in long, loose clothing and their head with a headscarf or hijab.
Abolishing the morality police would not change the rules that the police were tasked with enforcing, with Montazeri making clear that the courts would still have the ability to restrict “social behavior.”
Iran has also announced that it is reviewing the country’s head scarf regulations, promising to come to a decision on the matter within 15 days.
That push has been led by women’s rights activists in the country, who have openly defied the law in public and on social media as a form of protest.