Iran's 'morality police' has been disbanded, attorney general confirms

Iran’s “morality police” has been disbanded, the country’s attorney general has said, following weeks of protests after a woman died after being arrested by the force.

Mohammad Jafar Montazeri said at an event on Sunday that the section of the police had been closed in response to a question he was asked at a religious event.

"The morality police had nothing to do with the judiciary and have been shut down from where they were set up," he said.

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Protests against Iran's government began last month when 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in hospital after being arrested by the force and held in a re-education centre”, allegedly on grounds her hijab was not being worn correctly. The Iranian authorities have insisted that she died of a heart attack, however, video footage circulated on social media has claimed that she was beaten by officers during her arrest.

A woman looks at a screen displaying a video of an international climbing competition is Seoul, South Korea, during which Iranian climber Elnaz Rekabi competes without a hijab.

Demonstrations have called for the resignation of Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has ruled the country since 1989. It is believed more than 300 people have been killed in the protests, including more than 40 children.

This comes amid claims that the family home of Elnaz Rekabi, the Iranian climber who faced criticism from the government after competing without a headscarf, has been demolished.

Video footage has shown Ms Rekabi's brother Davood - also an elite athlete - crying amid the rubble of the home. Sports medals can be seen on the ground.

It is not known when the footage was taken.

Ms Rekabi, 33, climbed in the competition in October without a headscarf. She later claimed it had fallen off as the timing of the competition had changed and she was asked to climb at short notice.

Iranian state media has claimed that the demolition took place before Ms Rekabi's competition in South Korea, saying it was because the family did not have a permit to build on the land.

Anti-government activists have denounced the destroying of Ms Rebaki’s house as an act of revenge against the climber, although it has not been confirmed when the event took place.

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After her competition, concerns were raised over Ms Rebaki’s whereabouts, once she returned to Iran. At Tehran airport, she was met by crowds who called her a “heroine”. She then appeared the next day, wearing the same clothes she had arrived in at at the airport, with Iran’s sports minister.

In an Instagram post immediately after her climb, Ms Rekabi apologised for competing without her hijab.

She said: "Due to bad timing, and the unanticipated call for me to climb the wall, my head covering inadvertently came off.”

In recent days, there has been a suggestion of further reform. Mr Montazeri has said he is reviewing the law that requires women to cover their heads.

Quoted by the ISNA news agency, he said: "We are working quickly on the issue of hijab and we are doing our best to use a wise solution to deal with this phenomenon that hurts everyone's heart."

He added that a meeting has been held with the parliament's cultural commission and results will be seen "within the next week or two".