- Protesters have called for an economic boycott from Monday to Wednesday
- Raisi visited Tehran University on Wednesday for Student Day
- The Home Ministry remains silent on the status of the Moral Police
DUBAI, Dec 4 (Reuters) – Protesters in Iran called for a three-day strike on Sunday this week, ratcheting up pressure on authorities after the public prosecutor said the detention of a young woman had shut down the morality police that sparked months of protests. .
There was no confirmation of the closure from the Interior Ministry, which is in charge of the morality police, and Iranian state media said public prosecutor Mohammad Jafar Montesseri was not responsible for overseeing the force.
Iran’s top officials have repeatedly said Tehran will not change the Islamic Republic’s mandatory hijab policy, which requires women to dress modestly and wear headscarves, despite 11 weeks of protests against strict Islamic restrictions.
Hundreds of people were killed in riots that erupted in September following the custodial death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman who was detained by morality police for violating hijab laws.
Protesters seeking to maintain their challenge to Iran’s clerical rulers have called for a three-day economic strike and a rally in Tehran’s Azadi (Freedom) Square on Wednesday, according to individual posts shared on Twitter by accounts unverified by Reuters.
President Ibrahim Raisi will address students in Tehran on the same day to mark Iran’s Students’ Day.
Similar calls for strikes and mass mobilization have fueled growing unrest in the country in recent weeks – some of the largest anti-government protests since Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution.
As of Saturday, 470 protesters, including 64 minors, had been killed, according to the activist HRANA news agency. 18,210 demonstrators were arrested and 61 members of the security forces were killed.
Iran’s Interior Ministry’s State Security Council put the death toll at 200 on Saturday, the Judiciary’s news agency Mizan reported.
Residents, posting on social media and in newspapers such as the Sharq daily, say there have been fewer sightings of morale police on the streets in recent weeks as authorities try to avoid provoking further protests.
On Saturday, Montessori was quoted by the semi-official Iranian Labor News Agency as saying the morality police had been disbanded.
“The same authority that established this police force shut it down,” he said. He said that the moral police is not under the jurisdiction of the judiciary and it continues to monitor behavioral activities at the community level.
Al Alam state television characterized his comments as “a retreat on the part of the Islamic Republic from its position on hijab and religious morality,” but that is all that can be gleaned from his comments. The moral police was not directly connected with the judiciary.
Four men convicted of collaborating with Israel’s spy agency Mossad were executed on Sunday, state media said.
Tasnim news agency reported that they were arrested in June before the current unrest in the country, following cooperation between the Ministry of Intelligence and the Revolutionary Guards.
Israel’s prime minister’s office, which oversees the Mossad, declined to comment.
The Islamic Republic has long accused arch-enemy Israel of conducting covert operations on its soil. Tehran has recently accused the US and other Western countries of plotting an Israeli plot to start a civil war in Iran.
Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdullian told a news conference on Sunday that the West was using the protests to interfere in Iran’s internal affairs.
Iranian state media reported on Wednesday that the country’s Supreme Court upheld the death sentences of four people for “collaborating with the Zionist regime’s intelligence services and kidnapping.”
Three others were found guilty of crimes including acts against national security, kidnapping and possession of illegal weapons and were sentenced to five to 10 years in prison, the Mehr news agency said.
Dubai Newsroom Editing Reporting by Dominic Evans, Raisa Kasolowski, William McLean and Susan Fenton
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