Utmost Barbarity: Acid attack against women and girls for improper veiling
NCRI Women’s Committee – September 2015
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Reports on acid attacks against women and girls in Iran, by gangs affiliated to the Iranian regime, again proves the depth to the misogynist nature of the mullahs’ ruling Iran and their antagonism to women. Since its inception in 1979, the mullahs’ regime solidified its power through repression of women and built its foundations on repression. It come forth with the slogan of “Or wear the veil, or get beaten”. It has ruled the society by establishing a fundamentalist culture. Also parallel to this, it has carried out crimes, particularly against women that do not exist anywhere else. Truly, the Iranian regime is the epicenter of a fundamentalist and fanatical Islam.
The heads of the regime have created at least 27 suppressive bodies under the name of combating “mal-veiling” which is cleric’s made name to prevent the outburst of popular protests, particularly women and has increased suppression and a climate of fear.
(Massoud Zahedian, head of Moral Security Police – State-run Mehr news agency – August 12, 2013) http://www.mehrnews.com/detail/News/2111650بازدید:
They have organized their fanatical and medieval laws so that their repressive agents and gangs can freely carry out such crimes. For example, a bill presented last year in the mullahs’ Majlis (parliament) was been ratified under the name of “supporting the promotion of virtue and prevention of vice”, which has in reality lead to acid attacks and any forms of discrimination and harassment against women. Article 2 of this law declares: “promoting virtue, invites and leads others to virtue / prohibiting, is stopping vice.” However, it is obvious when a law is so unclear and undefined, its prime goal is to impose repression with a legal context. Who defines what makes virtue and what consists of defining vice and what would mean to promote and to prohibit and what are the requirements for this? In the mullahs’ regime’s culture, the misogynist agents can carry out any crime and this is how they define their laws.
The widespread demonstrations and protests by women and youth against the dirty and criminal act of acid attacks, despite the repression and arrests proves once again that the mullahs’ and their repressive forces cannot easily implement their misogynist policies into Iran’s society. The Iranian people’s spirit of resistance and steadfastness against the clerical regime is a vivid example of the resistance and steadfastness found in members of the Iranian opposition, particularly the thousand women. This is a phenomenon that is an inspiration which strengthens resistance throughout the whole society, especially for freedom-loving women of our nation.
Now, what is very dirty and saddening, is the silence of many Western countries vis-à-vis such horrendous crimes. Such a policy encourages the regime to carry on with their crimes against the Iranian people, particularly women and to increase their fundamentalism in the region.
Below, is report by the NCRI Women’s Committee on the terrible crimes committed by the mullahs’ against Iranian women.
Paving the way to crime
The clerics ruling Iran have identified misogyny as the slogan for their programs and goals and use the repression of women as the most important instrument to impose oppression on the society. They consider mandatory hijab as a tool to limit and control women as women’s freedom is considered as the end of their rule. Therefore, women’s dress code is considered a security issue.
– Ahmad Khatami, member of the Assembly of Experts’ board of directors: “Blood must be spilled in order to resolve the issue of hijab.”
(State-run Aftab daily – 6 May 2011) http://aftabnews.ir/vdcgzn9qtak9xu4.rpra.html
– Yousef Tabatabai-Nezhad, Friday prayer leader of Isfahan: “To confront ‘mal-veiling’ we must raise a ‘wet stick’ and we resort to force.”
(State-run Asr-e Iran daily – 23 November 2011) http://www.asriran.com/fa/news/191466/
-The head of the Iranian regime’s club wielding unit known as the ‘Ansar Hezbollah’ emphasized “the activities of this unit is not a subject that officials are not aware of. Any obstructive measure will be met with swift and harsh measures by the Hezbollah. (NCRI – July 12, 2014)
Elements of Ansar-e Hezbollah have since the beginning of this year, given news of initiating motor patrols to fight against ‘improper veiling’.
– MesbahYazdi, one of the highest ranking mullahs’ close Khamenei in Bojnourd said: “Prohibiting vice cannot be established with kindness.”
(State-run Fars news agency – 23 October 2014) http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13930801001043
– Mullah Alam al-Hoda, Mashhad Friday prayer leader: “Mal-veiled women are vicious as wolves. The sin of improper veiling is worse than theft and murder.”
(Ahmad Alam al-Hoda’s personal blog) http://omolbnin4.blogfa.com/post/169/
Threats against women continued this year from all Iranian regime officials.
– “It is expected that officials support measures promoting virtue and prohibiting vice, and it is expected that people react if they witness any wrongdoing,” said Gholam-Hossein Ibrahimi, Friday prayer leader of Sabzevar, northeastern Iran. (State-run Fars news agency – January 7, 2015) http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13931019000481
– “Mal-veiling is not just an ordinary crime. In fact it is very much related to the country’s security,” said Movahedi Kermany, temporary Friday prayer leader of Tehran. (Youth Journalists Club – April 17, 2015) http://www.yjc.ir/fa/news/5176612
It is noteworthy that measures against national security is an allegation used by the mullahs’ regime to carry out executions against political prisoners.
– “Everyone should be on high alert about wrongdoings, and no one can deny their responsibility in this regard,” stressed Nouri Hamedani, a member of the Marjaiya (Shiite religious leaders) in Iran. (Youth Journalists Club – May 7, 2015) http://www.yjc.ir/fa/news/5194277
-Reza Qolami, secretary of Cultural Council of Khamenei’s office said “Hezbollah forces will enter the scene if the police don’t take action against improper veiling.”
(Digarban website – May 23, 2015)
-Makarem Shirazi, a senior mullah in Qom claimed “with the destruction of hijab, the entire Islamic rule will be destroyed.”
(Peykeiran website – May 24, 2015) http://www.peykeiran.com/Content.aspx?ID=91063
-In late June, state sources gave news of a letter written by Rouhani addressing Khamenei about analyzing the ‘promoting virtue and prohibiting vice’ plan.
The elements of the plan explains the serious threat by Ansar-e Hezbollah who will treat women anyway they want. (Rasa News Agency – June 31, 2015) http://rasanews.ir/NSite/FullStory/News/?Id=271067
-Montazer al-Mahdi, deputy of social affairs in the State Security Forces (SSF), “The SSF plan known as ‘promoting virtue and prohibiting vice’ will be fully implemented.” (State-run Jahan News – July 17, 2015) http://jahannews.com/vdcepx8eejh8xfi.b9bj.html
– “Mal veiled and criminals should not have security” said Hadi Habibi, Friday prayer leader of Rezvanshahr. (State-run Tasnim news agency – July 31, 2015)
“Today, for us a black chador is more important than the nuclear dossier,” said Laleh Eftekhari, a female member of the regime’s parliament. (Youth Journalists Club – August 8, 2015) http://www.yjc.ir/fa/news/5268800
– Akhtari, head of the Virtue and Hijab Foundation in the Iranian regime reported there are “200 centers to encourage hijab” opened under the mullahs’ regime, Youth Journalist Club reported on August 11, 2015. He issued a statement expressing his gratitude to the government and security forces saying, “We call on this force to increase its efforts and fight more aggressively against all signs of mal-veiling.” http://www.yjc.ir/fa/news/5258830
– “Those who are interested in this regard, from all walks of life including students, Bassij members and government employees must receive the necessary training and carry out their duties very effectively in this regard,” the Youth Journalist Club reported citing Habibi, advisor to the Secretary-General of the Headquarters of Enjoining and Forbidding Wrong in Iran. (Youth Journalist Club – August 16, 2015) http://www.yjc.ir/fa/news/5292016
Noting international organizations defending women’s rights, Khamenei the Iranian regime’s supreme leader, criticized the infrastructure of some world conventions and pointed out, “The insistence by the West on this wrong infrastructure will destroy humanity. For this reason, one should stay away from these foundations to acquire a proper and balanced outlook.”
(state-run ISNA news agency, Aug. 12, 2015)
The mullahs’ law
The initial mandatory law on hijab that was fully implemented in Iran was not enough for the regime. They are seeking to impose a law by the name of “Expanding the Culture of Virtue and Hijab”. According to this law, the obligations of almost 20 organizations and governmental bodies were defined to impose mandatory hijab and in April 2010 it became executable under an interior ministry deputy.
(State-run Asr-e Iran daily – 25 April 2010) http://www.asriran.com/fa/news/110442
Considering that the regime is continuously faced with opposition from freedom-loving Iranian women and youths on the implementation of this law, it intensified its pressure by implementing a law called “Supporting Agents of Promoting Virtue and Prohibiting Vice”. The plan was passed on 8 October 2014 by the regime’s Majlis. One of the articles calls on the SSF to obligate women ‘lacking sharia hijab’ (as described by Majlis members) to take part in training courses and also fine them 2 to 10 million rials.
Another article of this bill states, “If the driver or passengers of a vehicle are seen as not abiding the hijab… or unconventional acts that are against public virtue must pay a 1 million rial fine and if it is repeated, the vehicle will be confiscated for 72 hours.” (Radio Farda Website – 17 October 2014)
– Members of Iran’s so-called parliament in the open-door session of April 12, 2015 adopted a 16-article plan supporting agents enforcing “promoting virtue and prohibiting vice” after it passed through the filter of the council.
This article says:
5 – Preparing the grounds for comprehensive participation by all people and … on issues related to “promoting virtue and prohibiting vice”
9 – Identifying capacities and supporting the formation of active associations and popular organizations
10 – All-out support for legal measures carried out by agents of “promoting virtue and prohibiting vice”.
(Youth Journalists Club – April 12, 2015) http://www.yjc.ir/fa/news/5172125
-The state-run Tasnim news agency cited a parliament member explaining the new plan: Confronting homeless women on the streets, imposing hijab regulations in vehicles and public areas and confronting government employees not abiding by hijab regulations are of such measures,” said Morteza Hosseini.
(State-run Tasnim news agency – July 21, 2015) http://www.tasnimnews.com/Home/Single/806142
– Nasrollah Pijhman-far, spokesman of the Joint Culture and Judiciary Commission in Iran’s so-called parliament said, “According to Article 1, drivers or passengers with improper veiling will be considered criminals and traffic police can take action against them,”. (State-run Ana news agency – August 10, 2015) http://www.ana.ir/news/45832
Wave of acid attacks
The misogynist laws have a large amount of unwritten and unannounced points. In mid-October 2014, news on the wave of horrific acid attacks on women was published in the media. The first round of barbaric attacks was carried out against 6 women in Isfahan. One of the victims, a 21-year old woman who had acid thrown to her face, entered her mouth, burning her internal organs. Eyewitnesses said the common characteristic of all the victims were women who were young, beautiful and did not dress in chador.
On October 19, 2014, three more young girls were victims of the mullahs’criminal acid-attacking gangs in Isfahan. A two-man team on a motorcycle acid attacked three young women. One of the victims lost her life as acid was entered her chest.
The victims quickly increased to 25 cases.
On October 24, 2014 a young women in Karaj was victimized. On the same day, another woman was attacked that burnt her face. 24-year old Fereshteh was the next victim of the acid splashing. Eyewitnesses identified one of three attckers as a member of the local IRGC Basij forces.
The next night, agents on motorcycle splashed acid on the face of a middle-aged woman inside a vehicle opposite of Tehran’s Tohid metro. More than half of the victim’s face was burnt.
In the regime’s in-faction fighting, state-run ISNA news agency reported on October 21, 2014 that 8 men and women were attacked with acid at a bus station in Kermanshah.
Hoodlums linked to the regime splashed acid on another woman and easily left the scene in Isfahan’s Apadna region. The mullahs’ MOIS agents carried the body of the injured lady and warned locals not to report the incident anywhere.
The regime’s officials and media outlets had attempted to prevent the publication of news in this regard from day one.
A few incidents only reported in the regime’s press:
– State-run ISNA news agency, 22 September 2014: Abdul-Hossein Mousavian, head of the Hygiene and Treatment Network in the town of Kohkiluya said, “On September 21, 2014 a 30-year old woman was the victim of an acid attack in Dehdasht. She was severely burnt and taken to a hospital in Ahvaz. When acid was splashed, two other individuals around the victim were also hurt.”
– State-run Tabnak website, 19 October 2014, only confirmed the two seriously injured women and said: Ahmad Mohammadi, director of the Imam Mousa Kazem Burns Accidents Hospital said two ladies by the initials of S.J., 25 and M.A., 28. On the injuries of the first individual (S.J.) he said, “This lady was talking on her phone in her car around Isfahan’s Bozorgmeh Square when she was attacked with acid. As a result of the acid attack both of her eyes were severely damaged and one of her eyes has been gouged. The second individual is still in shock. The left side of her face and her left eye have been damaged.”
The women introduced as S.J. by Ahmad Mohammadi told ‘Ofogh No’: “My whole body was burning and I was screaming of pain. The only thing I did was take off my clothes, but instead of pouring water on me, people around me asked why did I take off my clothes? 27-year-old Soheila described these events while she could hardly talk.
Soheila tries to sit on her bed but the burns on her back and arms do not allow her. She continues, “Two individuals picked me up and put me in the back seat of my vehicle. The back seat was full of acid and my back was also burnt.”
In mid-January, her father Nasser Jorkesh said, “Soheila is nervous. She has undergone eight eye surgeries so far. Yet her eyes must remain closed for the next six coming months to see the result. She has not still received the special clothing for her burns,” he added.
Nasser Jorkesh had previously revealed that agents of the State Security Forces had threatened him not to inform the public media about the acid attack against his daughter.
He said that after talking to the brother of another victim, he realized both attacks took place in one week’s time both on Wednesday evening between 6 and 7 pm and the attackers were two motorcyclists who were escorted by a white vehicle.”
– State-run ISNA news agency, 29 October 2014 reported; Tahmineh Yousefi, 29, was the next victim. To this day many surgeries have been carried out on her face.
Acid attacks continued again. A 20-year-old woman was attacked on November 1, 2014. She was seriously burnt. The regime however, had prevented any reports from being published.
Agents of the mullahs’ regime carried out vicious acid attacks against two more women in the month of November. The two incidents were carried out separately in the town of Lordegan in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province (southwest).
Masked motorcyclists splashed acid on a young woman’s face once again in Tehran on December 15, 2014. The attack was similar to last October’s acid attacks in Isfahan.
Masumeh Karaj Qorbani, 50, was victim to her ex-husband’s revenge as he copied the state-sponsored acid attacks.
Masumeh’s sister said, “The physicians say she has suffered 70% damage in her right eye. Also half of her face, hair, neck, hand, chest and back have been burnt.”
After posting a piece on acid attacks in November 2014, blogger and civil activist Haniyeh Farshi received a private message on her Facebook page saying, “Haniyeh, come and let me splash a bottle of acid on you and then see if you will have the same stance!” Haniyeh was arrested in July 2010 for her activities on Facebook.
The crime did not stop here. On July 23, 2015. Abu Torabi, a member of the so-called parliament referred to 300 acid attacks in one year.
On June 25, 2015, a 34-year old woman was the victim of this crime and suffered intense burns.
A 34-year old woman in the city of Khuy, suffered major burns after being targeted in an acid attack. (State-run Maf News website – June 25, 2015)
Two days later reports of yet another such crime were received from Lorestan Province. A mother and her daughter were targeted. Initial evaluation shows the 39-year old mother saw 40% of her body burned in this attack.
On July 14, 2015 a woman and two girls in Bukan (northwestern Iran) were acid attacked in two different incidents. One of these victims was Susane Ismaeel-Nezhad, a college student studying construction.
In the latest example taking place on August 11, 2015 Afsaneh Ghorbani, 37, from the city of Bane was attacked by four individuals.
Psychiatrists usually describe the status of acid attack victims as “similar to death”, as such incidents have consequences ranging from losing one’s facial beauty and eyes. The victims’ lifestyle and objectives all change as a result.
Whereas Iranian women continue to suffer from last year’s acid attacks.
Somayeh Mehri, victim of an acid attack, died on April 14, 2015 in Tehran, after being hospitalized and enduring severe illnesses especially wounds in her lungs.
In her memory, a number of women’s activists intended to place flowers and light candles outside the hospital where she died.
Regime officials, fearing such gatherings would turn into widespread protests, rushed to the scene dispatching their motorcycle agents to disperse the crowd, and they even confiscated their candles.
The Iranian regime behind the attack
Despite the regime’s attempts to portray the horrific crimes as individual and social cases, through its incomplete reports, all the rushed remarks made by the regime’s officials – and their internal disputes – clearly indicate that the regime itself is behind the entire incident.
– State-run Tasnim news agency, 25 October 2014 cited remarks from Seyed Hassan Hashemi, the mullahs’ Minister of Health, “All of us must know that encouraging violence is always a threat. Those who started and promoted violence were not able to manage it, and violence has not only paralyzed people’s lives it has also lashed back at the promoters, too. In our country negligence regarding the issue of violence has paved the grounds for a phenomenon known as the recent acid attacks.”
– State-run Tasnim news agency, 25 October 2014 – The country’s general prosecutor said, “Worse than acid attacks is taking advantage and exaggerating the whole issue by foreign and dissident media outlets of this matter.”
– State-run Mehr news agency, 26 October 2014 cited Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejhei and wrote, “The latest attacks took place on October 15 with acid sulfuric. In this regard no individual has yet to be clearly arrested.”
– State-run Tasnim news agency, 26 October 2014: Former Majlis member Zohreh Elahian described associating acid attacks to agents of ‘Promoting Virtue and Prohibiting Vice’ as the West’s fear of women’s hijab.
-State-run T-News, 27 October 2014 – Director of the judiciary’s Human Rights Department said, “The hands of some other countries are behind this crime, and certainly if this is true we will cut off the hands of those countries.”
-State-run Tabnak website, 27 October 2014: Isfahan Governor Rasoul Zargpour said, “The province’s security and judicial apparatus will seriously deal with rumors and exaggerations.”
He described holding any gatherings to protest or supporting these social and political incidents are conditioned on having permission.
-State-run Sharqdaili, 22 October 2014: After the acid attacks the samples of the remaining acids on the clothes and vehicles of the victims were examined and proven the acids were similar.
Despite all this, Khosravi Vafa, head of Isfahan Province’s Judiciary said, “There is no feeling of concern or insecurity at all.”
– State-run ISNA news agency, 19 October 2014: Commission member Abbas-Ali Mansouri said, “Some are attempting to link the issue of hijab and such measures as all linked to each other, they are trying to portray a harsh image of Islam.”
-Haghighat-pour, a member of the Iranian regime’s Majlis’ (parliament) called the recent acid attacks as a ‘small crime’ and said in late December 2014, “We must not involve the government and judiciary system in small crimes.”
The main stance against the inhuman attacks was taken by women and the Iranian people. On October 22, 2014, protest rallies were staged in Tehran and Isfahan. Demonstrators chanted “Death to Iranian ISIS”, “You worse than ISIS, you splash acid on us?”, “No to mandatory hijab”, “With or without hijab, no to acid attacks”, “Women’s share of security? Acid attacks, crimes”, “Anti-women laws must be annulled”, “No fear, no fear, we all stand together.” Participants in these rallies were attacked by repressive forces using batons and bird shots. They detained over 50 youths.
These protests took place in different cities. Large crowds, especially the youths in Isfahan. Repressive forces, including the Special Anti-Riot Unit, used tear gas to raid on the youth.
Students in Tehran, Enghelab Square chanted “Perpetrators of this vicious crime must be punished”. SSF forces with black vehicles attack them.
Rallies protesting acid attacks also took part in the city of Mashhad. The protesters were beaten by repressive agents some of the protesters were detained.
A large crowd gathered near the regime’s governorate office in Saghez and chanted “Death to Dictator” while clashing with repressive SSF agents.
A group of political prisoners in Gohardasht Prison went on hunger strike to join the national strike.
Over one hundred young women gathered in Tehran’s Enghelab Square to protest criminals linked to the mullahs’ leader Khamenei on Ocotber 26, 2014. State Security Forces closed off roads leading to this square.
On this same day, a group of students in Babol’s Noshirvani University boycotted their classes and gathered at the campus, helding placards written, “Security, freedom are our indisputable rights”.
Similar protests were carried out by students of Alameh Tabatabai and Shahroud Universities. They chanted, “Acid attackers must be punished”.
On July 16, 2015, cultural, civil and women advocates, along with a number of locals in Bukan, held a protest rally protesting the lates acid attacks against women.
Security forces attempted to prevent this gathering, an eyewitness said. Plainclothes agents on the scene sought to instigate violence to create more mayhem.
The Iranian regime trying to whitewash their image
Following the wave of condemnations and protests, the mullahs’ regime has gradually changed its remarks and by now, is attempting to whitewash their image. This is while not even a single person has been arrested and punished for acid attack against women so far.
– State-run Tabnak website, 27 October 2014: Ahmad Mohammadi, director of the Imam Mousa Kazem Burn Accident Hospital said, “Currently there is no concern of security around Isfahan Province and the best measures possible have been taken.”
– State-run Fars news agency, 22 October 2014: Hossein Zolfaqari, Deputy Interior Minister in Security-Police Affairs said, “We say very certainly that acid attacks were not organized and from October 15 onward there have been no new cases.”
State-run ISNA news agency, 24 October 2014 cited a regime’s clergy MakaremShirazi: “… suspicious acid attacks have recently been carried out that security officials have stated have nothing to with the issue of hijab.”
It is crystal clear that the unrestrained viciousness of government gangs against Iranian women, leaving new incurable wounds on their souls and bodies, is the final and firm result of creating a climate of fear and silence for Iranian women and the people in general in order for the mullahs’ regime to continue their dark rule. However, the steadfast people in Iran will not succumb to such repressive laws and will continue to pay the price for freedom and democracy.