The reinstatement of Guidance Patrols in Iran faced resistance from resilient Iranians, particularly women, and sparked disagreement within the regime’s internal circles.
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, commented on the return of Guidance Patrols and said, “Reinstating the guidance patrols to suppress, terrorize, and kill only reflect the regime’s profound fear of the outbreak of yet another uprising led by Iranian women.
“The criminals ruling Iran must know that no patrol or repressive measure can extinguish the flames of the Iranian people’s uprising and resistance. A nation that has been fighting the regime for 42 years, will soon overthrow its disgraceful rule of crimes and coercion. No one can send Iran’s brave women and girls back home, when thousands of them have laid down their lives for freedom over the past 40 years.”
Ms. Sarvnaz Chitsaz, Chair of the NCRI Women’s Committee, tweeted: “The resurgence of repressive guidance patrols on our streets reflects the regime’s fear of another uprising, particularly by the brave Iranian women. The ruling mullahs must realize that executions, repression, and the mandatory veil no longer hold power. No repressive or security measure can halt the regime’s inevitable downfall.”
Iran regime relaunches “morality police” after unusual sentences fail
Following the increase of women not observing the regime’s mandatory hijab in public, Iran’s Judiciary tried to intimidate women by issuing unusual sentences for some women, such as forcing them to see psychologists or washing dead bodies at funeral homes.
However, on Sunday, July 16, the spokesman of the State Security Force (SSF) announced the relaunch of police patrols with vehicles and on foot to deal with women who did not observe the mandatory hijab.
Saeed Montazerol-Mahdi said the guidance patrol vans would not return to the streets, adding that the police patrols would do their work instead.
“The teams assigned for this work have judicial clearance. It is possible for a judge on duty to accompany the police officers. The police are law enforcement forces and cannot issue verdicts.”
Before this, Zabihollah Khoda’iyan, the head of Iran’s General Inspections Office, said, “Officers do not need the order of judicial authorities to deal with crimes related to hijab and chastity, and can carry out their duties directly. The law that currently exists regarding the observance of hijab and chastity in society has specified that failure to observe hijab in public and on public roads is a visible public crime, and in such cases, the duty of law enforcement officers and the judiciary is clear. (The state-run tasnim.com, July 10, 2023)
Montazerol-Mahdi also said, “All the police officers participating in this plan will be equipped with body cameras, and if they do not have body cameras, they will use other cameras to record the scene (for documentation) so that these videos can be used if needed.” (The state-run tasnim.com, July 17, 2023)
Resilient Iranians fight back against the regime
Resilient Iranians in northern Iran fought back against police officers who were harassing three women in Rasht’s Municipality Square on Sunday, July 16.
Tensions flared and led to clashes between people on the one hand and security forces and plainclothes agents on the other after security forces tried to arrest three freedom-loving women in the Municipality Square. Locals chanted “Death to Khamenei” during the ensuing protests. Plainclothes agents tried to disperse the crowd with tear gas.
Also, on July 16, Massoud Torifi, the head of the Information Center of the SSF in Isfahan Province, said two people who were enforcing the hijab were attacked in the central Iranian province.
Torifi said a lady driver of a Peugeot 206 car who was not observing the mandatory hijab responded with “insults and obscenities” to the notices of the two enforcers. According to Torifi, the driver of another car (a Peugeot Pars) then attacked the enforcers and, after assaulting them, gave one of their cellphones to the lady in question.
The Isfahan police official said that the assailant was arrested and handed over to the Judiciary for legal action. The woman was also arrested for “disturbing public order, uncovering her hair in public, and insulting hijab enforcers.” They handed her over to the Judiciary. (The state-run farsnews.ir/Isfahan, July 16, 2023)
Opposition from the regime’s inner circles
Vali Ismaili, the head of the parliamentary Social Commission, commented about the resumption of the activities of the Moral Police (or the guidance patrols) to deal with the resistance of brave Iranians and women against the mandatory hijab.
“It seems unlikely that there was any coordination or agreement with the parliament to reinstate the guidance patrols,” Ismaili said. He questioned the effectiveness of such measures over the past 43 years and said, “We will definitely not get an ideal answer.” (The state-run Student News Network (snn.ir), July 16, 2023)
Moineddin Saeedi, a member of the mullahs’ parliament from Chabahar, also said, “We went through September 2022 and its consequent events; this behavior is very strange. Many legal experts also believe that there is no standard legal basis for the activities of the guidance patrols. Therefore, relaunching them will have irreparable (adverse) impact.”
He added, “Whenever our sensitivities towards women’s hair and hijab are more than our sensitivity to embezzlement, child laborers, social ills, garbage scavengers, etc. rest assured that we have taken the wrong path of injustice. In circumstances when people have economic problems, they expect us to pay attention to their livelihood and control the inflation.” (The state-run donya-e-eqtesad.com, July 16, 2023)
Ahmad Hossein Fallahian, a member of the mullahs’ parliament from Hamedan, said, “I don’t see returning to the guidance patrols as a suitable method. We must use new methods to deal with those who have removed their hijabs.” (The state-run Rouydad24.ir, July 16, 2023)
A regime expert, Taghi Azad Armaki, professor of sociology at the University of Tehran, commented on the reinstating of guidance patrols, noting the danger of resistance by people and women. He pointed out, “If the previous violence regarding the guidance patrol was one-sided (i.e. only by the police), today the society is in danger of the outbreak of mutual violence. If in the past the negative approaches were related only to the guidance patrols, today the situation has developed to a state where multi-dimensional violence is also possible. The images circulating in social media regarding these confrontations strengthen this likelihood. There is a conflict between the civil society and the official institutions.”
In another part of his remarks, he added, “As a sociologist, I believe that the deploying the guidance patrols is not a suitable method and will not lead to a favorable result.” (The state-run etemadnewspaper.ir, July 17, 2023)
Another regime expert, Azar Mansouri, the head of the so-called Reform Front, stated, “The gap between the government and the nation not only has not been repaired, but further widened. How many more Mahsas need to give their lives so the perpetrators of this bad defense accept that insisting on this procedure is counterproductive and that they should confront a society that is already volatile.” (The state-run etemadnewspaper.ir, July 17, 2023)
Mullah Noor Mofidi, the Friday Prayer Leader of Gorgan, also noted, “Reza Khan (Pahlavi) couldn’t take the women’s veil by force, and today, it is not possible to force women to put on the veil.”
Mullah Javadi Amoli, “The issue of hijab and chastity cannot be solved with a bayonet. Supposedly, you managed to force women to pull their headscarves forward. This is not called chastity.”
Hossein Alaei, one of the former IRGC commanders, also exclaimed, “The activities of the guidance patrols over these years not only did not reduce the level of improper veiling in the society, but also caused a strong reaction and the spread of improper veiling them among some women.” (The state-run daily setaresobh.ir, July 17, 2023)
Unveiling the Scope of Control: 31 Ministries and Government Institutions Enforcing Mandatory Hijab
In the meantime, Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, the speaker of the mullahs’ parliament, urged the various parliamentary committees to deliberate on the Hijab and Chastity Bill to prepare for its final adoption. He said, “Certainly, we will not adopt an incomplete law, but we will examine it out of turn.” (The state-run isna.ir, July 17, 2023)
Noting the report by the parliamentary Cultural Committee on the failure of various institutions to carry out their duties to enforce the mandatory Hijab, Qalibaf said, “As per the report by the Cultural Committee, 31 institutions have failed to fulfill their legal duties, partly due to the ambiguity of the law in this matter.”