Home News The abolition of the religious police is not enough for the revolution – Pierre Haski

The abolition of the religious police is not enough for the revolution – Pierre Haski

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The abolition of the religious police is not enough for the revolution – Pierre Haski

05 December 2022 10:14

At first glance Iranian women should have every reason to cheer. The morality police, responsible for the murder of Mahsa Jina Amini in September by a lock of hair out of place, should no longer be on duty.

The conditional remains obligatory, because, as always happens in these circumstances, the announcement was not entirely clear. The prosecutor of the Islamic Republic Javad Montazeri has let it be understood, but other sources have denied it. A sign of embarrassment in a context marked by the youth revolt that has been going on for more than two months.

Prudence is also essential because women will remain exposed to the whims of the regime. In fact, the law has not changed (the veil remains mandatory) and all the forces of order have the possibility of applying it, even if in recent weeks many women have abandoned the veil with total impunity.

Global protest
Having said that, it is clear that the regime has taken a step back. It is a sign of the fact that, although he has not given up on imposing his law, the balance of forces is not in his favour.

It would be surprising if this simple concession put an end to the movement. The revolt was born from the death of Mahsa Jina Amini, but as the days went by it went beyond the simple claim to the veil, becoming a global protest by the Islamic Republic and the supreme leader Ali Khamenei.

The first concession, which arrived on December 4, could therefore be considered an admission of the fact that repression alone (which has already caused more than three hundred deaths and more than 14,000 arrests) will not be enough to weaken the movement, as instead happened with the previous protests.

By stepping back on the symbolic religious police, perhaps the regime wants to convince a section of the protesters that the reason for their anger has vanished.

The risk, however, is that the opposite may happen: the Iranians could believe that if power has given way once, then it could continue to withdraw, and above all convince themselves that the concessions do not change the nature of the regime, by now disliked by the young people of the country .

Could the movement really prevail in the end? This is the fundamental question linked to the nature of the revolt, which by now involves all sections of Iranian society. If it is a revolutionary movement, then it will be satisfied only with the fall of the regime established in 1979 by Ayatollah Khomeini. To achieve this scenario, however, it would be necessary for a part of the security forces, the armed wing of the regime, to decide to step aside or even change sides.


If the goal is truly a new revolution, the movement will have to overcome a major obstacle common to most of the popular uprisings of recent years, from Lebanon to Algeria: the lack of organization and leaders. This fluidity is a strength because it protects the movement from targeted repression, but it is also a weakness because it limits the possibilities for coordination and initiative.

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The era of the revolutionary avant-gardes is over, but spontaneous revolutions can’t get to the end. But at least they make the most determined regimes waver, and this is the first clear result of an unprecedented crisis. Iranian youth are teaching the rest of the world a lesson in courage and tenacity.

(Translation by Andrea Sparacino)

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