Is Iran spreading misleading news to curb protests?

Published December 6th, 2022 - 06:20 GMT
morality police
Protesters hold up a placard showing Kurdish Iranian woman Mahsa Amini who died while in the custody of Iran's morality police, in a rally in support of the demonstrations in Iran, in Berlin, Germany on October 22, 2022. (Photo by John MACDOUGALL / AFP)
Mahsa Amini was arrested by Iran's morality police on Sept. 13 for violating the country's dress code.

ALBAWABA - Major news outlets reported a few days ago that Iran abolished its 'morality police' following massive protests in the wake of the death of activist Mahsa Amini while in police custody. But the news turned out to be misleading.

Masih Alinejad, an exiled Iranian journalist and activist, spoke to ABC News about whether the news about disbanding the morality police in Iran is true or false; Alinejad responded: "We were shocked by seeing the title of the New York Times."

"This is a total lie, disinformation and a propaganda move," she maintained.

The Iranian-American journalist stated that these kinds of fake news are usually spread by the Iranian government to either see the reaction of the rest of the world, or to calm down the protesters.

Misleading titles claiming that Iran abolished morality police started when attorney general Mohammad Jafar Montazeri was asked about the Guidance Patrol, or morality police, at a conference. He said that they "have been shut down from where they were set up".

However, the Iranian government didn't confirm the move, and the local media reported that his remarks had been "misinterpreted".

The U.S. State Department further said that there's 'no evidence that Iran is improving its treatment of women and girls or ceasing the violence it inflicts on peaceful protesters,' adding that the claim is only propaganda.

Protests broke out in Iran last September following the death of the 22-year-old Amini, on Sept. 16, three days after she was arrested by the Iranian morality police for wearing an 'improper hijab'. 

Viral protests have erupted across Iran, where women were seen burning the hijab and cutting their hair calling for an end to women's strict rules advocated by Muslim Shiite clerics in  the Islamic Republic of Iran.

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