From Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.
One of the more notorious images that often comes out of Iran is that of chador-clad women with police armbands and male police officers rounding up loosely veiled, and often young, women into minivans to be taken to police stations.
These officers, known as Gasht-e Ershad, or Guidance Patrol, roam busy avenues, especially during the summer, and are often seen harassing young couples or groups of women. Now, according to statements by Iranian officials, these scenes are to be no more.
On Dec. 27, Brig. Gen. Hossein Rahimi, head of Greater Tehran police, said, “According to the commander of the NAJA [Law Enforcement Force of the Islamic Republic of Iran], those who do not observe Islamic values and have negligence in this area will no longer be taken to detention centers, a legal case will not be made for them and we will not send them to court; rather, education classes to reform their behavior will be offered.”
Instead of rounding up young women, it appears Iranian police will be sending those who they deem are insufficiently following Islamic norms to a sort of traffic school for hijab and other Islamic values. Rahimi said 121 of these education classes have been held this year, with 7,900 in attendance.
While some Western media outlets focus on the aspect of veiling, it is possible that the term “Islamic values” will be more wide-reaching, as Tehran police are attempting to change their approach toward enforcement of social and religious values. “In addition to promoting security, the police will also be taking social measures to reform the behavior of citizens and reduce infractions and crimes,” Rahimi said. He added that 100 advisory centers have been set up in the capital and, in the last nine months, 62,000 cases were resolved before ever going to court.