Iranian Moral Police to Guidance Patrol
With their resistance and struggle, Iranian women were able to shut down morality “police”. However, issue of its shout down is only related to the state and nothing more. Until 2005, what we call the “Morality Police” today existed under other titles like “Guidance Patrol”. In that time, they were primarily men who were out on the streets pressuring women to keep their hijab. It was just a matter of making it part of the state’s administration structure by integrating it into the police forces.
Iran’s Prosecutor General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri on Dec. 4 said the morality police or the ‘guidance patrol’ as it is also known is at a “standstill.” The conservative cleric stated that the morality police “has nothing to do with the judiciary.” Montazeri said the morality police was “put to a standstill from where it was set up” a reference to the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution. The prosecutor general insisted, however, that “poor veiling” was a problem and vowed that the judiciary would “continue to oversee” the observance of the wearing of the mandatory Islamic headscarf by women.
Montazeri’s comments were seen by several prominent foreign outlets as Iran “abolishing” the morality police in the aftermath of the Sept. 16 death of Mahsa Amini, in its custody. The reports may have been impacted by Montazeri’s remarks on Dec. 1, when he said a “decision” on the issue of the mandatory hijab would be made in 15 days. The prosecutor general stated that the parliament and the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution were “studying” the issue of obligatory veiling.
When it is said that the moral “police” has been closed, it means that it has been removed from the state administrative and will not act as police unit but still, “Guidance Patrol”. This force can continue to exist as it was before 2005. It should be emphasized that the Islamic Republic with all its political and social structure is a moral police.
At December 6, a member of the parliament’s cultural commission announced that bank accounts of women who violate the Islamic hijab would be blocked! Jalali, MP said that “the protests will end soon and women’s hijab will return!” It is very clear that there has been no change in the rules.
The protests may have started as an anti-mandatory hijab movement, but have turned into demonstrations against the Islamic Republic.
We must not forget that there are still thousands of people in prison. The regime killed hundreds of people in the street for protesting the Islamic hijab, police brutality and lack of political and social freedoms. Dozens of children were killed by the police during the protests. Dozens of arrested protesters face the risk of execution. Despite all this, the struggle continues.
This is a revolution for structural changes in economy, politics and society.