Iran’s morality police have been reportedly shut down months after Mahsa Amini was killed in their custody having been detained for not wearing a headscarf.
Iran’s attorney general was cited by the Iranian Labour News Agency saying that the force which enforces the country’s dress code had been disbanded after worldwide protests outraged at the young woman’s death erupted.
There was no confirmation of the closure from the Interior Ministry which is in charge of the morality police, and Iranian state media said Public Prosecutor Mohammad Jafar Montazeri was not responsible for overseeing the force.
“The same authority which has established this police has shut it down,” he was quoted as saying.
He said the morality police was not under the judiciary’s authority, which “continues to monitor behavioural actions at the community level.”
The death of Mahsa Amini, 22, in September - after being detained by police in Tehran for allegedly not adhering to the Islamic dress code - triggered protests across the world.
The activist HRANA news agency said 470 protesters had been killed as of Saturday, including 64 minors. It said 18,210 demonstrators were arrested and 61 members of the security forces were killed.
Iran’s Interior Ministry state security council said on Saturday the death toll was 200, according to the judiciary’s news agency Mizan.
Residents posting on social media and newspapers such as Shargh daily say there have been fewer sightings of the morality police on the streets in recent weeks as authorities apparently try to avoid provoking more protests.
Al Alam state television said foreign media were depicting his comments as “a retreat on the part of the Islamic Republic from its stance on hijab and religious morality as a result of the protests”, but that all that could be understood from his comments was that the morality police were not directly related to the judiciary.