New Surveillance Move Uncongenial

New Surveillance Move UncongenialNew Surveillance Move Uncongenial

President Hassan Rouhani, castigating the recent move by the police whereby “7,000 morality police in the capital will target women not observing the Islamic dress code, and people listening to loud music in cars or citizens breaking the norms in streets and other public places,” said “No one can just wake up one morning and impose new regulations on the people,” in the name of protecting their security and freedom.

At a Cabinet meeting last Wednesday, Rouhani said, “Nobody has the right to intervene in an individual’s private life, except in specific cases as established by the law and within the country’s legal framework.”

“Whether one authority wants to control the people directly and the other secretly, neither has the right to do so in the name of protecting the people’s freedom,” the president said, as reported by the Persian language newspaper ‘Etemad’.

He said people’s freedom can be restricted only by law (which is clear and precise). Apart from what is permissible by law, nobody can undermine the privacy of the people.

“Our first duty is to respect people’s dignity and integrity,” Rouhani added.

According to ‘Etemad’, one of the main weaknesses of the measure is that it has been implemented in haste and without being debated or examined by relevant authorities.

On Tuesday, Tehran Police Chief Hossein Sajedinia at a press conference had said, “All the morality police are our employees. Outside their working hours, or at any time during the day, they can report any cases of breaking the (cultural and social norms) to us via the special police communication system.”

He also said the agents “are not allowed to have face-to-face contact with the people and citizens can report any case of violation to the police hotline 110.”

The measure has been taken with the aim to foster an improved sense of security for the residents of the capital, he claimed.

Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli who is in charge of the Law Enforcement Forces on behalf of the Supreme Leader, was in New York to attend a UN meeting and has still has not commented on the issue.

  In the Dark

Additionally, the details of the measure have not been notified to the related organizations including the Tehran Governorate which is the provincial trustee of social and security affairs.

“We always respect decisions made by the police and the interior minister; but any new measure should be explained to us before implementation. At present, we are in the dark,” said Mohsen Nasaj Hamedani, deputy governor general of Tehran Province for security affairs.

“In order to prevent problems, any move concerning the people should be examined and discussed carefully before implementation,” he noted.

The Interior Ministry’s report on the police measure was sent to First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri on April 22 and will be discussed by the Cabinet this week.