Vastavam web: Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani today appeared to criticise the morality police after a video emerged of a violent encounter with a woman accused of breaching the country’s strict dress code.”Some say the way to promote virtue and prohibit vice is by going to the street and grabbing people by the neck,” said Rouhani in a wide-ranging speech to government officials carried on state television.
The video prompted outrage on social media and the interior ministry vowed an investigation, but also implied the woman may have provoked the violence by swearing at the police.Rouhani did not refer directly to the case, but appeared to use it to criticise recent efforts to clamp down on social media networks.”Mobiles are the way to promote virtue and prohibit vice. I don’t know why some people don’t like mobile phones or social networks,” he said.
But Rouhani said uncensored networks were vital to the economy, and warned that the Islamic revolution of 1979 would ultimately be judged by the regime’s behaviour towards its people.”If our behaviour has gotten worse (since 1979), then this revolution is on the wrong path. The fundamental purpose of the revolution is to respect people and solve their problems,” he said.The morality police have been far less visible in cities since Rouhani came to power in 2013, and Tehran’s police chief claimed in December that a softer line was being taken on breaches of Islamic code such as clothing rules, with an emphasis on “education” rather than detention.