Iran’s moral police are back on the streets: arrests have already begun

Iran’s moral police are back on the streets: arrests have already begun
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Von: Andreas Apetz

Iran is bringing back the vice squad. The first controls are being carried out in Tehran, and an actor has already been arrested for open criticism.

Tehran – Less than a year after the massive protests in autumn 2022 against the political and religious leadership in Iran, the government has now announced the return of the dreaded moral police. Since Sunday (July 16), moral guards have been on patrol throughout the country and are punishing violations of applicable clothing regulations. “Starting today, police will use patrols and walk to warn and punish people who – unfortunately – are disobeying orders and continue to break the dress code,” police spokesman Said Montaserolmahdi said on Sunday, according to a report by the Iranian News Agency Tasnim.

Feared moral guards are again checking the headscarf requirement in Iran

In the past few days, photos and videos on online networks have shown policewomen in chadors, a floor-length black cloak with a headscarf, admonishing and arresting women who are not wearing the Islamic headscarf, the hijab, which is mandatory in Iran. The news portal Iran International posted a video on his Twitter account showing a girl resisting being dragged into a van by a morality officer.

The Iranian-American women’s activist Sarah Raviani wrote about this in a post Twitter: “This is the cruel reality faced by Iranian women, the Islamic regime. Nothing about it is normal. The only solution is regime change.” Users on social networks assume that the Iranian regime will now tighten the noose and crack down even more. According to a report by the reform-oriented daily Schargh on Sunday, four women were recently sentenced to “taking psychological classes” and “cleaning hospitals.” According to the report, the authorities also imposed a “two-year driving ban” on the women.

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Actor arrested after criticism of compulsory headscarf in his own apartment

An actor was arrested in Tehran on the day Iran reinstated morality police. The 66-year-old Mohammed Sadeghi had criticized the violent enforcement of the headscarf requirement on social networks on Sunday. Sadeghi was arrested shortly afterwards at his own home by the fire brigade. This was reported by the news agency Tasnim

Iranian women at a pro-government rally in Tehran in October 2022. (Archive photo) © AFP

Videos circulated on Twitter are said to show officers breaking into the man’s home, while Sadeghi streamed live on a social platform. The actor previously released a video in which he criticized the state’s crackdown on women who don’t follow strict dress codes.

Return of the Vice Police on the anniversary of Masha Amini’s death

The return of the notorious vice squad to enforce headscarf law in Iran comes ahead of the one-year anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s death. The young Kurdish woman was arrested on September 13, 2022 because of an allegedly improperly worn headscarf. Three days later, Amini died while still in police custody.

Her death sparked nationwide protests, which have since died down. Several hundred people, including members of the security forces, were killed and thousands arrested. Seven men were executed for their involvement in the protest movement. According to the judiciary, the feared moral police, which had been monitoring compliance with the headscarf requirement since 2006, was disbanded in December. Since then, more and more women have left the house without a headscarf, especially in Tehran and other large cities.

But since the beginning of the year, authorities have tightened their grip on dress code violators with a range of repressive measures, including CCTV surveillance in public spaces with facial recognition and the closure of more than 150 shops as punishment. In May, the judiciary and government presented a bill to “Enhance Hijab Culture and Chastity”. The text, which has sparked lively debate, proposes tightening fines and other sanctions against all women “who remove their headscarves in public or on the internet”. (yy/dpa)


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