Playing down morality police move, US says Iran not improving treatment of women

“The people of Iran should be able to peacefully express themselves however they wish, free from intimidation and violence at the hands of state authorities,” a State Department official told Al Arabiya English.

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The US State Department on Monday played down reports of Iran scrapping its so-called morality police, adding that there have been no signs of the Iranian regime improving its treatment of women.

Over the weekend, media reports suggested that the Islamic Republic had shut down the morality police, tasked with enforcing strict dress codes, including mandatory hijab.

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But Iranian state-run media later denied that the religious police was abolished.

“We have seen the reports but will not comment on ambiguous or vague claims by Iranian officials,” a State Department official told Al Arabiya English.

Asked if there were any signs that the Iranian regime had improved its treatment of women, the official said: “Sadly, nothing we have seen suggests Iran’s leadership is improving its treatment of women and girls or ceasing the violence it inflicts on peaceful protestors.”

Nationwide anti-government protests have rocked Iran for months now after 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in the aftermath of her arrest for allegedly not complying with the mandatory hijab law.

Hundreds of protesters have been killed by the regime’s security forces.

The Biden administration has rolled out several rounds of sanctions against Iranian entities and officials due to their crackdown on human rights and protesters.

The State Department official said women in Iran should be free from restrictive dress codes, violence, and harassment. “The people of Iran should be able to peacefully express themselves however they wish, free from intimidation and violence at the hands of state authorities.”

Read more: US says ‘eyes of the world are on Iran,’ welcomes recent EU sanctions on Tehran

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