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caution after the announcement of the abolition of the morality police

Should we see a concession of the regime, jostled by nearly three months of unprecedented protests? A gesture intended to calm anger before three days of national demonstrations? Or an overinterpretation of the Iranian Attorney General’s remarks? On Saturday December 3, Mohammad Jafar Montazeri surprised by declaring during a religious conference in Qom: “The morality police (…) was abolished by those who created it. »

In Iran, art at the heart of the revolt

This brigade, known as the Gasht-e Ershad (orientation patrols) and created under the ultra-conservative presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to ensure that the Islamic dress code is respected, crystallized a large part of the protest that arose after the death of Mahsa Amini, in mid-September. The young Kurd, arrested by this unit for incorrectly wearing the veil, died three days later in detention.

“A cost-benefit calculation”

But this announcement, notably relayed by Agence France-Presse, raised a wave of skepticism and caution among observers and opponents alike. First, because as the Attorney General himself said, this brigade does not depend on the judiciary, but on the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution, headed by President Ebrahim Raïssi, which would be responsible for announcing officially such a decision. Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, he was only answering a question from a participant – « why the morality police was closed? » –, this brigade having in fact disappeared from the streets in recent weeks, in favor of other repression units. The response of the Attorney General can therefore be understood as an observation, and not as an announcement.

Some also fear a tactic of the ultra-conservative regime, which could rename it or transfer the powers of this brigade, targeted by Western sanctions, to the regular police. “This announcement may seem important, but it is not. After three months of protests, deaths, and videos of vice police clashing with women, maintaining the police was costly (politically, Editor’s note). It is a cost/benefit calculation. It was therefore deleted. said Iranian analyst and activist Fereshteh Sadeghi on Twitter.

Three days of national mobilization

If confirmed, the dismantling of these brigades of men in green uniforms and women in black chadors would in any case not mean the repeal of the 1983 law on the compulsory wearing of the veil, imposed four years after the Islamic Revolution of 1979. The authorities announced on Saturday their intention to revise it, but did not specify in what direction it could be.

And above all, the end of the Gasht-e Ershad would not sound that of the bloody repression intended to stifle the protest movement, as Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, president of the NGO Iran Human Rights, points out. “Abolition of the morality police does not change anything: people are fed up with an oppressive, incompetent and corrupt regime and want their basic rights. The regime wants to cling to power by all means: murder of more than 448 people including 60 children, death sentence…”

Whatever the future of Gasht-e Ershad, popular anger remains fierce: a national call to demonstrate has even been launched for three days from Monday, December 5.


French arrested: Macron denounces Tehran’s “lies”

Emmanuel Macron denounced on Sunday December 4 the ” lies “ of the Iranian authorities and assured to have “put very firm pressure” on his counterpart Ebrahim Raïssi in the face of imprisonment “unacceptable” of seven French or Franco-Iranian nationals, in an interview at the Parisian. “A lot of lies have been told” about their arrest in Iran, protested the president, three weeks after condemning “increasing aggressiveness” from Tehran. They “came to Iran sometimes for academic or associative reasons. There is nothing that justifies their imprisonment, it is unacceptable in our eyes”he added.


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