Iran: Dozens of Women Harassed and Regime Downplays Incident
By Staff Writer
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), ahead of its annual gathering in Paris on June30th, is drawing international attention once again to the human rights abuses that are taking place on a daily basis in Iran.
The Women’s Committee of the NCRI has reported that 41 young women and girls in the South-eastern city of Iranshahr have been violently gang raped. The attack is said to have been carried out by a gang of four men that has links with paramilitary organisations.
The Iranian society is outraged by the attack that occurred in the predominantly Sunni city in Sistan-and-Baluchistan Province.
The news was made public by the Friday prayer leader of Iranshahr, Mowlavi Tayyeb Mollazehi, on June15th. As well as trying to cover up the incident and spread doubt about the veracity of the claims, the prosecutor general of the Iranian regime announced that the whistle blower would be prosecuted.
The Friday prayer leader said that one of the girls who was raped was going home after work when she was stopped and forced into the back of a car, all under gunpoint. She was kidnapped and kept captive for hours.
The families of the victims informed the Friday prayer leader of the incident because they are fearful of the official security forces that the assailants are no doubt linked to.
Not all of the women have spoken out about the crime – no doubt because they fear reprisals from the security forces. Furthermore, women who have been raped in Iran are often left feeling like they are a social disgrace and therefore remain silent.
The Iranian regime, instead of investigating the crime and ensuring that justice is served, is minimising the severity of the situation and is focusing its efforts on targeting the Friday prayer leader that has helped the victims and their families. Several officials are claiming that the complaints that have been filed are false.
To those that live in the Western world, such an attack on young women is unimaginable, especially when there are laws in place to protect victims. In Iran, no such laws exist. It is for this reason that the international community must denounce the regime’s behaviour and ensure that further incidents do not occur.
Such attacks are commonplace in Iran and they often go unreported. Rape must be criminalised and women must be protected from their abusers.
Groups of women in the city have held protests and have bravely spoken out about the rape. And thankfully so, because if it were not for them, the victims of the attack would be the ones that are convicted and punished like Reyhaneh Jabbari. The 19-year-old woman spent seven long and torturous years in prison after defending herself against the man who raped her. Authorities tried to force her into making a false confession, torturing and threatening her, but she refused and was eventually hanged. The victim in the situation was treated like a criminal.