Iran's attorney general has said that the country's "morality police" will be disbanded, according to media reports on Sunday.
"Morality police have nothing to do with the judiciary and have been abolished," Attorney General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri was quoted as saying late Saturday by the ISNA news agency.
However, it is unclear whether the force will be set up again in a different context or under a different name. State news agencies have reported that death sentences and legal proceedings for "morality" offenses will continue.
"Of course, the judiciary continues to monitor behavioral actions," Montazeri told a conference Saturday outlining religion-based policy.
Kamran Matin, a Senior Lecturer of International Relations at the University of Sussex, told DW that the announcement by the attorney general should be taken with a level of caution.
Matin clarified that Iran's morality police is not part of the judicial system, but is operated by so-called law enforcement forces or police forces.
"Such an announcement should really be announced by that institution and that hasn't happened yet," Matin said.
Tehran under pressure
In September, 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in the custody of the morality police, after having been arrested for not properly wearing a hijab headscarf, leading to months of anti-government protests.
The regime in Tehran has been under considerable pressure since Amini's death.
On Saturday, Montazeri also said authorities were reviewing the decades-old law requiring women wear headscarves to see if it needed any "changes."
Who are the 'morality police'
The so-called morality police are a unit of Iran's police force tasked with enforcing laws on Islamic dress codes and other behavior in public.
They began patrolling the streets in 2006 after they were established by hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
In accordance with Iranian law, women and post-pubescent girls must wear head coverings and loose fitting clothing in public.
The morality police have been accused of arbitrarily detaining women for transgressions.
kb/wmr (AFP, dpa)