Freedom of expression has been under severe pressure in Iran for many years but in recent months it has been all but erased by the government's increasingly murderous agents of oppression: the Morality Police and Revolutionary Guards. These forces have been given the power not only to imprison but to torture and kill. The actions are aimed at all sections of society but are being targeted with exceptional harshness against women, young people, Kurds and religious minorities.
As in Russia, China and a depressing number of other states, the regime’s authority rests only on its ability to keep its citizens in a state of continuous fear. There is no excuse for the actions of police and the other militarised organs of state in countering dissent and opposition with violence. Enforcing conformity to its own intrusive social agenda is not a legitimate function of a state. Like its ally, Russia, Iran's government is at serious risk of isolating itself from the international community totally and harming its own people even more.
The Writers for Peace Committee of PEN International calls for:
While it is encouraging that Iran's Morality Police Force is apparently being disbanded, repression has not lessened, nor is there a sign that those within the Iran security forces will face justice for their violence. Therefore, our calls for serious reform are unchanged.
4 December 2022