The Iranian state television channel Al-Alam, which broadcasts in Arabic, issued clarifications in connection with the statements of Iranian Prosecutor General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, which were perceived as significant concessions to the opposition.
Montazeri said that the authorities were ready to review the provisions regarding the wearing of the hijab, and also said that the vice police had nothing to do with the legal system and signaled that it would be eliminated. Both in Iran and abroad, the statement was received with enthusiasm.
However, state television reported that the Attorney General said exactly what he wanted, namely that the vice police is a division of the Ministry of the Interior and is not part of the judiciary. There was no talk of liquidation.
ISNA quotes Mohsen Mozaheri, head of the Isfahan province’s department for promoting piety and combating sin (this is the official title of the chief of the vice police), who stated the need to comply with laws, especially those of divine origin. “Otherwise there will be anarchy,” he says.
“Islamic laws allow people to enjoy the good things in life and protect them from the bad things. They ensure that the religious character of the Islamic Republic is preserved,” he says, noting that laws in the West are also meant to preserve order.
As far as one can judge, statements by the authorities about their readiness to compromise are a tactical ploy designed to split and weaken the opposition. The religious establishment fears that even the slightest concession will threaten the very nature of the fundamentalist regime.