January 28, 2023

Protesters in Iran are calling for a strike, the public prosecutor said the morality police have shut down

Protesters in Iran are calling for a strike, the public prosecutor said the morality police have shut down

  • Demonstrators are calling for an economic boycott from Monday to Wednesday
  • Raisi visits Tehran University on Wednesday on Student’s Day
  • The Home Office is silent about the status of the morality police

DUBAI (Reuters) – Demonstrators in Iran on Sunday called for a three-day strike this week, stepping up pressure on authorities after the public prosecutor said the morality police whose detention of a young woman sparked months of protests had been closed. .

There was no confirmation from the Ministry of Interior, which is responsible for the morality police, and Iranian state media said that Public Prosecutor Mohammad Jaafar Montazeri is not responsible for overseeing the force.

Senior Iranian officials have repeatedly said Tehran will not change the Islamic Republic’s mandatory hijab policy, which requires women to dress modestly and wear the headscarf, despite 11 weeks of protests against strict Islamic rules.

Hundreds of people have been killed in the unrest that erupted in September following the death of Mohsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian-Kurdish woman who was detained by the morality police for violating veiling rules.

Protesters seeking to maintain their defiance of Iran’s clerical leaders have called for a three-day economic strike and rally in Tehran’s Azadi (Freedom) Square on Wednesday, according to individual posts posted by unverified Reuters Twitter accounts.

President Ebrahim Raisi is scheduled to address the students in Tehran on the same day on the occasion of Student’s Day in Iran.

Similar calls for strikes and mass mobilizations in recent weeks have resulted in an escalation of unrest sweeping the country – one of the largest anti-government protests since Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The activist Hana news agency said 470 protesters had been killed as of Saturday, including 64 minors. It added that 18,210 demonstrators were arrested and 61 security forces were killed.

Iran’s judiciary’s Mizan news agency quoted Iran’s Interior Ministry’s State Security Council as saying on Saturday that the death toll was 200.

Posting to social media and newspapers such as the Sharq daily, residents say there have been fewer sightings of the morality police on the streets in recent weeks as the authorities seem to be trying to avoid sparking more protests.

Shops closed in the wake of recent riots and protesters’ call to close markets, in Tehran Bazaar, in Tehran, Iran November 16, 2022. WANA (West Asian News Agency) via Reuters

Iran’s semi-official Labor News Agency quoted Montazeri on Saturday as saying the morality police had been disbanded.

He was quoted as saying, “The same authority that established this police shut it down.” He said the morality police are not subject to the jurisdiction of the judiciary, which “continues to monitor behavioral behavior at the community level.”

State TV channel Al-Alam said foreign media portrayed his remarks as “a retraction by the Islamic Republic of its stance on the veil and religious morality as a result of the protests,” but all that can be understood from his comments is this: the morality police were not directly linked to the judiciary.

Executions

State media said four men convicted of collaborating with Israel’s Mossad intelligence service were executed on Sunday.

Tasnim news agency reported that they were arrested in June – prior to the current unrest sweeping the country – following cooperation between the Intelligence Ministry and the Revolutionary Guards.

The Prime Minister’s Office in Israel, which oversees the Mossad, declined to comment.

The Islamic Republic has long accused archenemy Israel of carrying out covert operations on its soil. Tehran recently accused Israel of planning a civil war in Iran, a charge it has also leveled against the United States and other Western countries.

“Western countries are using the protests to interfere in Iran’s internal affairs,” Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabadullahian told a news conference on Sunday.

On Wednesday, official Iranian media reported that the country’s Supreme Court upheld the death sentence issued against the four men “on charges of cooperating with the intelligence services of the Zionist regime and on charges of kidnapping.”

The Mehr news agency said three other people were sentenced to between five and 10 years in prison after being convicted of crimes including acting against national security, aiding in kidnapping and possession of illegal weapons.

Reporting by Dubai Newsroom Editing by Dominic Evans, Raisa Kasuluski, William Maclean and Susan Fenton

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