The United States said Monday that there was “nothing to suggest” that Iran is improving its treatment of women. after the Iranian attorney general announced the dissolution morality police after months of protests against strict rules on women’s clothing.
“Unfortunately, nothing we have seen suggests that Iran‘s rulers are improving their treatment of women and girls or ceasing the violence they inflict on peaceful protesters,” a State Department spokesperson said, declining to comment on “ambiguous statements or vague from Iranian officials.”
Opposition activists and Western powers also dismissed the announcement on Monday.
Iran faces some of the largest protests since the 1979 Islamic Revolution after death on September 16, Mahsa Aminia 22-year-old girl of Kurdish origin who had been detained by the Iranian morality police.
Iran’s attorney general was quoted at the weekend as saying the morality police had been disbanded, but activists expressed doubt that significant change was underway and the Tehran government did not confirm the move.
Washington has repeatedly criticized Iran for its record on Women rights and the repression of protests by the authorities.
In early November, Vice President Kamala Harris had said the United States would seek with other nations to expel Iran from the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW).
Iran, ruled by Shiite Muslim clerics, was chosen to join the UNCSW until 2026. The United States will remain a member through 2023.
The United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas Greenfieldreiterated Harris’ call on Sunday: “Removing Iran from the Commission on the Status of Women is the right thing to do,” she tweeted.
The 54-member UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is expected to vote next week on whether or not to expel the Islamic republic from the commission.
Farewell to the morality police?
The announcement of the dissolution of that body, in charge of respecting the obligatory use of the veil in public, “will not change anything” for the mobilization of Iranians, considered a spokeswoman for the German government.
“Unfortunately, nothing we have seen suggests that Iran’s rulers are improving their treatment of women and girls or ceasing the violence they inflict on peaceful protesters,” a spokesman for the US State Department said.
In social networks, they circulated several calls to a three day strike starting this Monday.
In Tehran, several shops in the grand bazaar were open but the aisles of the establishment were almost deserted. “We have opened but we close because there are no customers,” said a beauty products merchant.
In photos posted online, they looked shops with their shutters down in Sanandaj, in Iranian Kurdistan, and in Isfahan, the country’s third city.
The prosecutor’s statement Mohammad Jafar Montazeriappeared to be an off-the-cuff response to a question at a conference, leaving a lot of room for interpretation, rather than a prepared announcement about this unit, which is run by the Home Office and not the judiciary.
In any case, even if this unit is dissolved, its removal would not mean any change in Iran’s policy of imposing the mandatory headscarf on women, but rather a change in tactics in terms of how to apply it, warn activists.
“Unless they remove all legal restrictions on women’s clothing and laws that control the private lives of citizens, this is just a public relations measure,” he told the agency. AFP Rust Boroumandco-founder of the US-based rights group Abdorrahman Boroumand Center.
According to her, “even if there is no morality police, nothing prevents other law enforcement agencies from applying these discriminatory laws.”
The morality police began to circulate through the streets in 2006, after its creation during the presidency of the ultra-conservative Mahmud Ahmadinejad [2005-2013].
Since the beginning of the protest movement, there are more and more women who take to the streets without the veil, especially in the north of the capital, affluent.
But the mobilization, fueled by years of anger over economic problems and political repression, also calls for the end of the Islamic Republic led by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The violent repression of the protests has left at least 448 dead, according to the organization Iran Human Rights (IHR), based in Norway.
For Omid Memarian, an analyst at Iran for Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN) “the alleged suspension” of the morality police “means nothing, as it had already become irrelevant due to the massive level of civil disobedience by women and the defiance of norms related to the hijab”.
(With information from AFP)
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