No morality police? Iran activists reject claim – Times of India


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PARIS: Iranian activists and Western nations on Monday dismissed a claim that the protest-hit Islamic republic is disbanding its notorious morality police, insisting there was no change to women’s rights.
Iranian shops shut their doors in several cities on Monday, following calls for a threeday nationwide strike from protesters, nearly three months into a nationwide wave of unrest sparked by the death in custody of the 22-yearold Kurdish-Iranian woman Mahsa Amini. Meanwhile the head of the judiciary blamed what he called “rioters” for threatening shopkeepers.
“Nothing we have seen suggests Iran‘s leadership is improving its treatment of women and girls or ceasing the violence it inflicts on peaceful protesters,” the US state department said. Germany’s foreign ministry said Iranian protesters “want to live freely and in self-determination”, and disbanding the morality police, “if it is implemented, won’t change that”.
In a surprise move over the weekend, Iran’s prosecutor general Mohammad Jafar Montazeri was quoted as saying that the morality police units had been closed down.
But campaigners were sceptical about his comments, which appeared to be an impromptu response to a question at a conference rather than a clearly signposted announcement by the interior ministry. “Unless they remove all legal restrictions on women’s dressand the laws controlling citizens’ private lives, this is a PR move,” Roya Boroumand, cofounder of the US-based Abdorrahman Boroumand Centre rights group, said.
Abolishing the force, activists argued, would mark no change to Iran’s headscarf policy but rather a switch in tactics on enforcing it.

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