Iran MP criticises 'morality police' after protests: reports

Iran MP criticises 'morality police' after protests: reports
Public anger has grown since Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman, died after being taken into custody by Iran's so-called 'morality police' for allegedly not wearing a headscarf 'properly'.
3 min read
20 September, 2022
Iranians are protesting across the country following the death of Mahsa Amini, allegedly at the hands of the Islamic Republic's security forces [Getty]

An Iranian lawmaker made a rare stand on Tuesday to criticise the Islamic Republic's controversial 'morality police' following protests over the death of a young woman they had arrested, local media reported.

Public anger has grown since authorities on Friday announced the death of Mahsa Amini, following her arrest by the police unit responsible for enforcing Iran's strict dress code for women, including the wearing of the headscarf in public.

The 22-year-old died in hospital after three days in a coma.

Her death comes amid growing controversy both inside and outside Iran over the conduct of the morality police, known formally as the Gasht-e Ershad, or "Guidance Patrol".

Jalal Rashidi Koochi, a member of parliament, told the ISNA news agency that "Gasht-e Ershad is wrong because it has had no result except loss and damage for the country", adding that "the main problem is that some people resist accepting the truth."

Koochi questioned if the current policy of enforcing those breaking dress regulations was effective.

"Do the people who are taken to these explanatory classes by the Guidance Patrol become conscious and repent when they come out?" Koochi said, ISNA reported.

On Sunday, police made arrests and fired tear gas in the dead woman's home province of Kurdistan, where some 500 people had protested, some smashing car windows and torching rubbish bins, reports said. A Kurdish rights group said five people were killed in the region on Monday when security forces opened fire on protestors. 

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On Monday, demonstrations were held in Tehran, including in several universities, and the second city Mashhad, according to the Fars and Tasnim news agencies.

Protesters in Tehran were dispersed by "police using batons and tear gas", according to Fars news agency.

"Several hundred people chanted slogans against the authorities, some of them took off their hijab (headscarves)," Fars added.

Tehran Governor Mohsen Mansouri on Tuesday said the protests in the capital were "fully organised with the agenda to create unrest", in a post on Twitter.

"Burning the flag, pouring fuel on the roads, throwing stones, attacking the police, setting fire to motorcycles and garbage cans, destroying public property... is not the work of ordinary people," he said.

State news agency IRNA reported protests on Monday in other provinces of the country including Kermanshah in the west, Gilan in the north, Razavi Khorasan in the northeast and Yazd in the centre.