Thursday, 2 February, 2023

Iran’s conservative press ignores news on morality police

TEHRAN: Iran's conservative press on Monday ignored news that the Islamic republic has scrapped its morality police after weeks of protests, a story that ran on the front pages of only four reformist dailies, reports AFP.

Even some of the reformist newspapers raised questions about the news.

Iran has been rocked by more than two months of protests triggered by the death of Kurdish Iranian Mahsa Amini, 22, following her arrest by the Tehran morality police for allegedly violating the country's strict female dress code.

In an apparent gesture to the protesters, Prosecutor General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri said the morality police have nothing to do with the judiciary and have been abolished by those who created them, in comments carried by the ISNA news agency Sunday.

Since the 1979 Islamic revolution that overthrew Iran's US-backed monarchy, authorities have monitored adherence to the strict dress code for women as well as men.

The morality police -- known formally as the Gasht-e Ershad or Guidance Patrol -- were established to spread the culture of modesty and hijab.

They began patrols in 2006, and their role has always been controversial.

But on Monday only four newspapers, all from the reformist camp, referred to the stated end of the morality police, and some did so with scepticism.

The end of the morality police, read a headline by the reformist daily Sazandegi. It reported that after 80 days of protests caused by the morality police, the prosecutor general announces its abolition.

The Sharq newspaper, however, asked on its front page Is this the end of the patrols

While the prosecutor general has affirmed that the morality police have been abolished, the police public relations department has refused to confirm this abolition, it reported.

The paper added that the Tehran police head of public relations, Colonel Ali Sabahi, when asked about Montazeri's statement, had replied Don't even mention that you called us.

The moment isn't appropriate for this kind of discussion... and the police will speak about it when it is appropriate, Sabahi reportedly told Sharq.

Another reformist publication, Arman Melli, questioned whether this really was the end of the morality police.

A fourth newspaper, Ham Mihan, emphasised The judicial authority made a declaration but no other authority has announced the dissolution of the morality police.