Protests over the murder of a young woman in detention have lasted for months in Iran.
The morality police held Mahsa Amini in custody for allegedly flouting the head-covering regulations.
Mr. Montazeri was asked if the morality police were being abolished while he was attending a religious convention.
The morality police were disbanded from their base of operations since they had no connection to the judiciary, he claimed.
The interior ministry, not the judiciary, is in charge of the police.
Mr. Montazeri also informed the Iranian parliament on Saturday that the law requiring women to wear hijabs would be reviewed.
The long-standing law will not be modified even if the morality police are disbanded.
Since Amini, a 22-year-old woman who was arrested by Tehran’s morality police three days earlier and died in detention on September 16, protests led by women that the authorities have dubbed “riots” have erupted across Iran.
Although her passing served as the impetus for the upheaval, other factors like poverty, unemployment, inequality, injustice, and corruption have also contributed to it.
The elimination of the morality police would be a concession if it were to be confirmed, but there is no assurance it would be sufficient to put an end to the protests, which have seen protesters set fire to their head coverings.
One Iranian woman told Dispatch Weekly the protests would likely continue, saying: “Just because the administration has chosen to remove the morality police doesn’t mean the protests will stop.”
“It’s not good enough that the government says wearing a hijab is a personal choice. People are aware that with this administration in place, Iran has no future. More moderate and traditional members of Iranian society will come out in favour of women’s efforts to regain more of their rights.”
Another protestor said: “We, the demonstrators, don’t care about the hijab anymore. These last 70 days, we’ve been going out without it. We are experiencing a revolution. The beginning of it was the hijab, and we want a change of government and the end of the dictatorship.”
Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran has had many “morality police” organisations, but the most recent incarnation – known formally as the Gasht-e Ershad – is currently the main agency tasked with enforcing Iran’s Islamic code of conduct.
In order to police the dress code, which enforces women to wear long clothing – while forbidding shorts, ripped jeans, and other attire deemed immodest – they started their patrols in 2006.