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Iran: Apparent Morality Police Closure Wouldn’t Help Moribund Regime

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The apparent suspension of Iran’s notorious “morality police” made headlines in recent days. As days passed, it seemed that there was much ado about nothing. The bombshell made rounds following a press conference by the regime’s attorney general, Mohammad Montazeri, on December 3.

The head of the Committee for Determining Criminal Web Content - Mohammad Jafar Montazeri“In response to a reporter about morality police shutdown, Montazeri said, ‘This body was not related to the judiciary and was canceled by those who initiated it,” the state-run Entekhab website quoted him on December 3.

The regime’s factions and apologists quickly started spreading fake news and making great fanfare about this rather pathetic gesture. Unfortunately, some internationally renowned news outlets bought into it.

According to the state-run Entekhab website on December 1, Montazeri said: “The parliament and the Supreme Islamic Revolution Council are studying and working on the mandatory veiling, and there will be results in 15 days. These decisions should be made based on wisdom.”

The “wisdom” Montazeri spoke of was a combination of deception and oppression.

Less than a day after Montazeri announced the morality police’s closure, Iran’s state media reported that neighborhood patrols would increase, and security forces would have more presence trying to establish “connections” with the public!

Besides, according to the state-run Tabnak website on December 1, MP Hossein Jalali said: “We will increase the consequences of unveiling in public.”

Jalali-MP“Taking a step back from the Chastity and Hijab plan is like abandoning the Islamic Republic. If the Islamic dress code is eliminated, the Islamic Republic will be gone too,” he said. He also promised regime supporters of “closing bank accounts of the improperly veiled individuals.

For Iran’s ruling theocracy, human rights violations, particularly violations of women’s rights, are considered a pillar of existence and the only method to control the restive society.  Due to its nature and because of the existential threat it feels from the uprising, religious fascism will not and cannot show the slightest flexibility in its medieval approach to society. Because a single rift in its oppressive apparatus, as acknowledged by the regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei, would immediately collapse the entire system.

Tehran’s pundits in the West had made a mountain out of a molehill about the morality police’s suspension. At the same time, the security forces continued with their killing spree and arbitrary arrest of protesters in the third month of the nationwide Iran uprising. The videos from Iran show fully armed oppressive forces opening fire on unarmed protesters. They also abduct, torture, and kill protesters while bogusly claiming the victims have committed “suicide.”

The regime opts to divert people and international attention from its crimes against humanity and the revolution in the making in Iran.

The protests erupted in September following the death of Mahsa Amini in the morality police’s custody. Her death sparked a nationwide uprising, with people calling out the entire regime and asking for regime change.

Desperate to outflank what many consider Iran’s democratic revolution, religious fascism resorted to deceit and violence. Tehran’s apologists and its fabricated “alternatives” have been trying to sell this inept notion that Iranian women’s demand is narrowed to the freedom of choice to what to wear.

This plan has failed, as Iranian women, whether in more conservative areas of the country like Zahedan or in metropoles like Tehran, underlined “with or without hijab, onward toward the freedom.”

Reducing the Iranian women’s demands to abolish mandatory veiling is indeed overlooking their leading role in the nationwide uprising. The alternative to the ruling theocracy is a tolerant Islam and a movement led by Iranian women.

While some observers continue to argue that Iran’s society has distanced itself from religion, absent any means of serious demographic research and transparency in a country like Iran, no major conclusion could or should be drawn in this regard. Principally, while a portion of the population still holds to its beliefs, stressing such a sensitive issue will only serve those who want to divert dissent and seek their own safety.

The Iranian Resistance movement has been focusing on this issue, thus empowering women and paving the way for them to have leading positions within the Iranian Resistance’s ranks. This is what the regime fears the most. Therefore, it tries to limit Iranian women’s demands to some fundamental rights.

These methods should not fool anyone. The so-called abolishment of the morality police is nothing but a storm in a teacup. The actual demand of Iranians is regime change, and this is what the world should recognize and support by allowing the Iranian people to use their right to self-defense. The regime is in its most vulnerable situation, and the world should not fall for its games.