Iranian authorities indicated over the weekend they had abolished the country’s morality police—which penalized women for not adhering to a stringent dress code—after months of anti-government protests across the country, triggered by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after she was detained and beaten by the controversial police force.
The move was announced by Iran’s Attorney General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, who said the morality police has “nothing to do with the judiciary” and will therefore be abolished, the BBC, AFP and the New York Times reported on Sunday, citing local media.
Montazeri’s remark was reportedly made during a religious event and was in response to a participant asking about the status of the morality police.
However, some Iranian state news outlets have pushed back on reports that the morality police were disbanded, noting that no other government officials have confirmed the decision and arguing that Montazeri merely stated the police unit isn’t overseen by Iran’s judiciary.
The controversial police force and its top officials have been hit with a bevy of sanctions by several countries including the U.S., U.K., Canada and the EU.
The Iranian media, citing Montazeri, reported on Saturday that the country’s government was reviewing its laws governing dress codes for women—which require them to cover their heads with a hijab and wear loose-fitting clothes that cover their arms and legs.
Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi also alluded to potential reforms in a televised address on Saturday where he reiterated the link between Iran’s Islamic and republican foundations but added that “there are methods of implementing the constitution that can be flexible.”