Iranian Attorney General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri announced last week that the Guidance Patrol, Iran’s so–called Morality Police, will be suspended. This is excellent news for all the Iranian demonstrators, especially young women, who have taken up shows of support for Kurdish Iranian Mahsa Amini, a 22–year–old whose death at the hands of the Guidance Patrol
caused an international stir. Amini died under suspicious circumstances in mid–September while in police custody, arrested for refusing to wear her hijab in public, the head covering prescribed by government standards. According to the New York Times, supporters of Amini have logged the largest Iranian protests since at least 2009.
True to form for Iranian leaders, the pronouncement by Montazeri was vague at best and it was unclear whether or not the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei approved the decision. The situation is currently clear as mud, with Iran’s state television station saying that the announcement is not true.
If this is the case and the patrol is gone, disbanding the Guidance Patrol is only the beginning for the myriad of protestors who are tired of the way women are being treated. In an interview with the BBC, one unnamed protester said, “A revolution is what we have. Hijab was the start of it, and we don’t want … anything less but death for the dictator and a regime change.”
In truth, it seems like Iran and its once powerful regime has a revolution on their hands. Although citizens have protested in Iran for the last four decades, this year has a different feel to it. This set of protests has been more widespread and vocal, with numerous young people taking part. And inexplicably, the regime cannot stop the revolutionaries, nor can they meet their demands. Shockingly, the regime has killed more than 400 of their own people while detaining 16,000 more. Despite this governmental pressure, the movement and the protests have not quieted. Many people think that removing the Guidance Patrol is a concession to the citizens of Iran, and not an actual choice for the people.
There are also some who say the theater of the Guidance Patrol being called off is strictly for the Western audience. The United States needs to understand that the protests span every corner of the country of Iran, even those that are conservative such as Qom. The problem is much more far–reaching than it first appears. The United States did respond to the announcement of the Guidance Patrol’s supposed demise.
According to Adnan Zai, Advisor to Berkeley Capital, “The Iranian people deserve to live the life they desire, free from the tyranny of their current governmental regime. The many suspicious deaths at the hands of the Morality Police should be protested.”
For women in Iran whose very lives might be in the balance, this issue is extremely important. As the world watches, they continue to speak up for their beliefs and risk their safety for a chance at freedom.