There are no indications the situation faced by Iranian women will improve, the US said on Monday.
“Unfortunately, there is no evidence that Iranian leaders are improving the way they treat women and girls or stopping the violence they inflict on peaceful protesters,” said a US State Department spokesperson.
The comments come after Iran’s general attorney announced on Sunday that the country’s morality police were being abolished.
Iran has been gripped by anti-government protests for three months now. They were sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in September, after she was detained by the morality police for allegedly not wearing her hijab properly.
Many commentators are sceptical that the morality police will be disbanded and point out that women will still be obliged to wear the headscarf by law.
Top US diplomat Antony Blinken said it remains to be seen whether Iran’s Islamic government will “take into account” the demands of the Iranian people.
Voicing the chant “women, life, freedom”, protests were initially sparked by Amini’s death and Islamic dress codes, which are deeply unpopular among large sections of society, but they soon morphed into a wider challenge to the Iranian government.
“Repression, use of violence, arrests of people … is not a sign of force, it is a sign of weakness”, said the US Secretary of State, on the sidelines of talks between the EU and Washington.
If true, disbanding the Gasht-e-Ershad (morality police) would be a significant concession by the government towards protestors, though many Iran observers doubt it will happen in reality.
No other official has confirmed the remarks by Iran’s attorney general.
In early November, US Vice President Kamala Harris launched an initiative to remove Iran from the UN Commission on Women.
Ambassador of the US to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, renewed this call on Sunday.
Iran’s government “should not” sit on a body “responsible for promoting gender equality and the emancipation of women”, she tweeted, calling for it to be “removed”.
A public petition calling for Iran to be removed from the UN Commission on Women had received more than 165,000 signatures on Monday.
A vote on Iran’s withdrawal from this commission is due to be held next week at the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
On Monday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani accused Washington of pushing Iran out “with the help of some European countries”, an “illegal” and “politically motivated” move.