Isfahan’s tourist industry is at stake

The Guardian reported on the acid attacks in Isfahan on Monday and said there might have been as many as eight. I saw an Iranian source on Facebook that said the number was 14 in 8 days.

According to police, attackers riding on motorbikes have thrown acid in at least four women’s faces in the city, but local media have put the number as high as eight.

There are fears that the victims were chosen because they were wearing clothing or headscarves that were revealing or did not conform to perceived Islamic norms, though authorities have so far denied that the assaults had anything to do with the hijab.

The Iranian source I saw said that at least four imams had fulminated about “bad hijab” at the last Friday prayers.

The Isna news agency has spoken to a number of victims and their families, including a 27-year-old woman, identified only by her first name Neda, who was targeted two weeks ago in Isfahan close to Bozorgmehr Square. She has since been taken to a hospital in the Iranian capital, Tehran, for further treatment but the agency said she had lost full sight in one of her eyes and has partial sight in the other.

Please tell me again how misogyny is just a made-up thing.

“While in her car, Neda had pulled over in order to answer her mum’s call,” the victim’s father told Isna. “Two men riding a motorbike threw acid in her face and ran away, leaving her burnt in different areas such as her eyes, her left ear, neck, hands and legs.”

“What was her fault?” he asked. “She had not committed a single crime, she had always lived with her head kept high and never had a spat with anyone.”

And now she’s mostly blind.

Women in Iran are required by law to cover themselves head to toe but many, especially young women in bigger cities, defy the regulations and the morality police by showing their hair or wearing clothing that could be deemed inappropriate.

That “could be deemed inappropriate” by filthy-minded meddling perverts who think it’s their business how women dress. Fuck that noise.

A member of the Iranian parliament’s national security committee, Abbas-Ali Mansouri, said: “Foreign and Zionist intelligence agencies” were aiding those carrying out the attacks in order to distort Islam’s image worldwide.

Ah right, we did it, the foreigners and Jews and infidels. As if Islam needs our help to have a bad image.

The Graun also reports on the protests in Isfahan.

Isfahani citizens, horrified by the scale of vicious assaults, gathered in front of the city’s justice department on Wednesday, calling on the authorities to put an end to the crimes which has highlighted the striking challenges women face in Iran, where hijab is obligatory.

A number of protesters in Isfahan chanted slogans that described the attackers as Iran’s own version of Isis, the extremist group that has committed many atrocities in Iraq and Syria.

“Stop violence against women,” read a placard held by female protester, according to images posted on Twitter. “Freedom and security are the rights of Iranian women,” demonstrators chanted in Isfahan’s Nikbakht Sstreet. Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency estimated the number of the participants to be around 2,000. After a few hours, local police was reported to have dispersed the crowd.

In Tehran, dozens of people showed solidarity with the victims in Isfahan by staging a similar but smaller gathering in front of the Iranian parliament (Majlis), calling on MPs to halt a bill which gives more freedom to the morality police and plainclothes militia in their crackdown on women with “bad hijab”.

Good luck to them. I hope the MPs listen and heed.

Earlier this week, Iranian MPs considered a bill which prohibits the use of violence in the hijab crackdown but at the same time gives more leeway to the relevant officials.

Nasrin Sotoudeh, a leading Iranian human rights activist, told the Guardian on the phone from Tehran that she was among the protesters in the capital.

“How can you live in the society and remain indifferent towards such horrible attacks,” she said. “We are opposed to the parliamentary bill. If it is implemented, those who engage in violence against women will certainly feel that they have protection.”

And that of course is the intention. Women covering up every bit of throbbing slutty hair is obviously far more important than preventing enraged thugs from maiming those women. That’s a healthy set of priorities.

In the face of the assaults, Iranian officials have gone on the offensive, scrambling to deny that their long-standing policy of cracking down on women not wearing the hijab has contributed to the Isfahan incidents. “We are still unsure about the attacker’s motives but some foreign and opposition media organisations have linked the attacks to the issue of hijab and women’s covering,” he said. “This is not true and those attacked were from faithful families.”

He’s missing the point. This whole business of making such an anxious fuss about what women wear on their heads just feeds and fosters loathing of women. It doesn’t promote healthy attitudes to women, to put it mildly.

Mohammad-Reza Naghdi, the head of the informal voluntary Basij militia, said western media were linking the attacks to the hijab issue, trying to distort the image of Islam. In his view, “western intelligence services” were behind the attacks.

Iran’s justice minister, Mostafa Pourmohammadi, has described the Isfahan assaults as terrorist attacks intended to sabotage the city’s safety. “We are very concerned and are doing all our best to bring those responsible to justice,” he was quoted as saying.

Shargh said the incident had already affected Isfahan’s tourist industry. “Some foreign tourists have since asked us if they would be attacked by acid if their headscarves were pushed back and we had to reassure them that this will not happen,” said one hotel operator.

And the hotel operator knows that how? What bullshit; why wouldn’t foreign women be attacked by acid?

The authorities seem to be worrying a lot more about Iran’s reputation than about Iranian women’s right to live their lives umolested.


  1. says

    One would have only to imagine the horror of the icid-ers, if they threw it on a US citizen who was a journalist, to understand the implicit divisions involved.

  2. badgersdaughter says

    It affects women not in Iran, too, as well as business in Iran. Last year my boss refused to send me to train our engineers there because he could not be assured of my safety (to put this in proper context, I had already been to Bogota and to Abu Dhabi and to Dubai, so it wasn’t that he mistrusted me or my ability to keep my head in potentially dangerous places). The only other place he refused to send me to was Lagos, for the same reason. He did not send a man in my place, either. The engineers in those places had to make do with e-mailed documentation and call-in support instead of training. The production engineers in Corporate preferred not to work with the engineers in those locations because they didn’t understand what they were doing.

  3. moarscienceplz says

    On top of all the other things that can be said about the acid-throwers, they are also disgusting cowards.


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