Basij Commander’s Son Linked to Attacks on Women – The son of a Revolutionary Guard commander was involved in a series of knife attacks against women in the southern city of Jahrom, it was confirmed late last week.
According to Farhikhtegan newspaper, at least five women, including several university students, were victims of knife attacks in Jahrom at the end of November and beginning of December. There were other reports that up to eight women had been attacked. Several of the women were seriously injured.
Mohammad Beheshtifar, 22, whose father, Jalil Beheshtifar, is a Basij commander in Kordan district, was implicated in the attacks and was arrested, along with others.
Mohammadreza Kuchaki, an MP for Jahrom, said that the commander took his son to the authorities once he was notified of his involvement in the crime.
Kuchaki told an Iranian news site that the motivation for the attacks was “personal and had nothing to do with religious beliefs,” referring to recent attacks carried out by vigilante groups in line with the Islamic notion of “commanding the right and forbidding the wrong”. Following acid attacks in Isfahan, thought to be in connection with women not wearing “proper” hejab, it was widely believed the that the Jahrom attacks had been carried out for the same reasons. “Among the victims,” Kuchaki said, “There were women wearing perfect hejab, and some were even wearing chador.”
Hojatollah Rezaii, deputy governor of Fars Province, reported that “those responsible for the crimes in Jahrom were arrested in less than 72 hours.” According to him, several people were implicated.
Hojatoleslam Lotfollah Dejkam, the Friday Imam of Jahrom, spoke of the attacks on women during a recent address. He attempted to alleviate panic across the city by insisting that those responsible were now behind bars. “We ask the prosecutor to punish them in the most serious way, as negligence in this regard will encourage others to dare to commit similar acts.” People should remain calm, he said.
One of the victims, a 34-year-old woman, told reporters for Farhikhtegan: “I was returning home around eight o’clock at night when a motorcyclist sprayed acid into my car while I was entering an alleyway. I began to cough and my eyes burned. Thinking that he wanted to steal my car, while holding my breath, I took the car keys and ran off. He got off his motorcycle and kept repeating that if I did not shut up, he would stab me. When I saw the knife in his hand, I kept quiet. But he stabbed me on the side and when he ran off, cut my right hand too.”