The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday approved a resolution in support of the anti-regime protests in Iran.
Tehran has been rocked by demonstrations following the death of Mahsa Amini on Sept. 16. Amini, 22, was arrested by the country's morality police for not wearing her hijab correctly and donning skinny jeans. Her family said she was beaten to death while the Iranian government claimed she died due to an "underlying disease."
"Nearly three months since the brutal detention, beating, and murder of Mahsa Amini, the courage and defiance the Iranian people continue to display in the face of the regime's brutality has served as an extraordinary example for all of us and everyone around the world who believes all people deserve a say in their livelihoods and way of life," Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., who chairs the committee, said in a statement.
"It is my hope that Congressional approval of this bipartisan, bicameral resolution will help amplify the voices of the hundreds of thousands of women and men of Iran who are protesting against the brutality of one of the world’s most repressive regimes."
The morality police, established in 2005, are tasked with enforcing Iran's restrictions on public behavior and strict dress codes — particularly on women, who are required to wear the hijab, or headscarf, and loose-fitting clothes.
On Saturday, Iran's chief prosecutor, Mohamed Jafar Montazeri, said the religious police "had been closed," in a report published by the semi-official news agency, ISNA. He was also quoted as saying that the government was reviewing the mandatory hijab law.
But late Sunday, Arabic-language state outlet Al-Alam issued a report suggesting Montazeri's comments had been misunderstood. The report said the religious police were not connected to the judiciary, to which Montazeri belongs. It underlined that no official has confirmed the closure of the religious police.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., in a statement said the move was a "façade to distract us from what the protesters really want — to free Iran of the oppression altogether.
"The United States must stand by them until they secure victory," she added.
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