Iran protests
Iran protestsiStock

Campaigners backing Iran's protest movement on Monday dismissed the Islamic Republic’s claim that it is disbanding its notorious morality police, insisting there was no change to its restrictive dress rules for women, AFP reported.

Iran's Attorney General, Mohammad Jaafar Montazeri, on Sunday announced the dissolution of the morality police.

The announcement followed the widespread riots in the country which began after the September 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by the morality police.

Activists were skeptical about the Attorney General’s comments, which appeared to be an impromptu response to a question at a conference rather than a clearly signposted announcement on the morality police, which is run by the interior ministry.

Moreover, they said, their abolition would mark no change to Iran's headscarf policy -- a key ideological pillar for its clerical leadership -- but rather a switch in tactics on enforcing it.

Scrapping the units would be "probably too little too late" for the protesters who now demand outright regime change, Roya Boroumand, co-founder of the US-based Abdorrahman Boroumand Center rights group, told AFP.

"Unless they remove all legal restrictions on women's dress and the laws controlling citizens' private lives, this is just a PR move," she said, adding that "nothing prevents other law enforcement" bodies from policing "the discriminatory laws".

The announcement about the dissolution of the morality police came a day after Iran said it is reviewing a decades-old law that requires women to cover their heads.

Hundreds of protesters have been killed in more than two months of nationwide unrest, including dozens of minors. In addition, at least six people have so far been handed death sentences over the demonstrations.