Beyond the Headlines: Who are Iran's morality police and what are the rules they uphold?

Protests show no signs of easing, but with some of those in power seeing the head-scarf debate as an existential threat for the republic, reform will be hard to achieve

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A group of men in green uniforms and women in loose black chador headscarves roaming the streets in a van is a familiar sight in Iran. This is a patrol by Iran’s so-called morality police.

Officially called the Guidance Patrol, officers have the power to arrest anyone deemed to be flouting the country’s strict rules on how men and women should dress and act in public.

While officially they police everyone ― men wearing shorts or showing visible tattoos can fall foul of officers ― it is women who are overwhelmingly scrutinised.

But people are saying enough. Mass protests have rocked Iran for months, but many doubt that the government will heed the calls to reform. Changing the rules will be difficult for hardliners to accept and may not be enough for protesters.

On this episode of Beyond the Headlines, host James Haines-Young looks at Iran’s religious rules and the force that upholds them.

Updated: December 09, 2022, 6:30 PM