Call for new nationwide protests and strikes

On the defensive: Iran’s revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last week
Image: EPA

After the Iranian Attorney General announced that the moral police would be disbanded, the protest movement wants to further increase the pressure on the regime: the economy is to come to a standstill for three days.

Aactivists in Iran have called for new nationwide protests and strikes. The so-called 14-15-16 protests – the numbers are the date in the Persian calendar month of Azar – are expected to last from Monday to Wednesday and hit the Islamic system in particular economically. Therefore, Iranian citizens were also called upon to avoid shopping on these three days in order to prevent any money from circulating in the Iranian banking system. According to the activists, as many shops as possible should remain closed, especially in economic centers such as bazaars in large cities.

Ahead of the three-day protests, Iran’s Attorney General’s statement about the disbanding of the vice squad sparked debate in the country. On the one hand, this was seen as a stage victory for the women’s movement in Iran. On the other hand, everyone agreed that this step would be pointless without lifting the headscarf requirement for Iranian women that had been in place for more than 40 years. “The dissolution of the vice squad was necessary, but not enough until the mandatory dress code law is revised,” political scientist Abbas Abdi said on Twitter.

The vice police were the catalyst for the system-critical uprisings in the country that have been going on for more than two months. In mid-September, the Islamic moral guardians arrested 22-year-old Mahsa Amini because a few strands of hair were said to have stuck out from under her headscarf. Amini died a few days later in the custody of the vice squad. Since then, people in Iran have been protesting against the Islamic system and its antiquated laws and regulations.

For observers, statements such as the dissolution of the moral police, promises in parliament about a revision of the laws or planned committees of inquiry are only the system’s attempt to calm the tense situation before the three-day protests.

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