Khomeini bunting.

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"What happened?", I asked to my friend who had stopped the car to ask for directions back to Tehran after having kindly offered me a lift. I was confused - it seemed that two people had made an effort to put us back on track: a man on the streets, verbally providing details and another man in a car (also caught in traffic) writing it down on paper. "Why, were you apologising so much to the gentleman in the car?" I later added whilst wondering why he went to the effort of writing down the directions, yet not bother to pass them on. After a short period of silence my friend replied, "The guy in the car beside us was a Basiji, he was writing the car details down". "What did you do?" I nervously asked, only too aware that it is often irrelevant. "My headscarf slipped back", she answered. It seems that this plain clothed driver was a Basij member and had noticed something we hadn't: that my friend's headscarf had in fact slipped back a little.

As it turns out, this gentleman was not a Basij member but rather a member of a more curious set-up, the Nirooyeh Entezami Naja, whose responsibilities lie with protecting the Islamic way. They seem to fit somewhere between the military, clerics and police - occasionally armed, with police powers yet apparently strictly Islamic. While I am here, the Basij is also a confusing outfit and difficult to explain. Their function is not particularly black and white yet their power seems vast. They seem to also fit somewhere between the military, clerics and police - assuming elements of all yet only in the name of Allah and not necessarily towards the government like the Nirooyeh Entezami Naja. I will explain further on this organisation another time however as currently I know too little and it is probably unsafe for me to go any further.

Strictly speaking I'm not actually allowed to be in the company of a non-family female like I was that night and at the time I thought that we were about to have to pull-over and explain how we knew each other. I enquired with my friend as to what exactly can result from such scenarios, yet she was not entirely sure herself. She only replied that it may range from a warning, maybe lashings or even jail-time. I've heard many stories of the variety of bizarre reasons as to how someone can get in trouble, yet if bribery can't help you (as it often does), don't cry for god's as he seems to be the one you've upset.

This event had happened three weeks ago and at the time I managed to calm my friend down by assuring her that the conditions where not favorable for this gentleman to get the number plate details and that maybe he was just trying to play the big guy. This however wasn't the case. My friend's father was visited by an army soldier which subsequently led to her having to provide a statement at some official building. The following day she had to relinquish her license and the car (which was actually her father's) to the pound for one week.

These stories have been getting closer and this night was the closest I've came to trouble. I'm sure however that it is only a matter of time before I am directly involved. I say this because I firstly am so ignorant to the laws here yet also because it is so easy to stumble into trouble, even when one is acting as is required.


  • Iranians really didnt deserve what is happening to them... Such a great people, with such a brilliant History... I am a westener but I deeply respect Iranians...I am used to see Kiarostami films and we know that people have a higher standard of education...A people that love poetry cannot be considered to be backwarded. But the Iranian leadership is totally insane. People should learn to distinguish the government from the people.

    My references to Iran are linked to Zoroaster, the Iranian food, the beautiful iranian women with their black eyes, Kiarostami movies, Cirus, Persepolis, Isphaan.

    Clerics, mullahs, ayatollhas, islamic revolutionaires, chadors, etc... all this shit one day will pass and will be just a dark page in the glorious Iranian History. Who these people think they are to endanger the life of humanity?

    Iran in West is now automaticly associated to backwardness, ignorance, sadness, deprivation and intolerance. Not even Iranian soccer teams are being invited to play abroad. The country seems to be reached its lowest level. And now the Security Council... I hope this can be a lesson to the mullahs... No nuclear power to the clerics!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:57 AM  

  • I've had a difficult time understanding the role of the Basij, or rather, the difference between groups like the Basij and Nirooye Entezami. In the end I suppose it just equates to more people on power trips scouring the streets ready to issue punishments for things which could be done by accident or for things that cannot be helped, just like a hejab slipping back. Is her license suspended indefinitely or is it just for a week like the car?

    And instead of wandering back to Flickr to say this, tavalodet mobarak! Babajan chera to heechee nagofti?! ehh! Tavalod, tavalod, tavalodet mobarak! Mobarak, mobarak, tavalodet mobarak! Insha'allah you shall see a hundred more!

    By Anonymous Tahereh, at 9:58 AM  

  • You were lucky nothing serious happened!

    By Blogger Mim, at 4:35 PM  

  • I wrote the last comment!


    By Blogger Mim, at 4:36 PM  

  • Religious Police? I pity you who live under the watchful eye of religious police. Iran is not only "automaticaly associated to backwardness, ignorance, sadness, deprivation and intolerance" but the deprivation of freedom is astounding! Iran is re-entering the dark ages and is led by an Islamic lunatic.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:55 AM  

  • I am really happy to hear comments like Mr/Mis. Anonymous 12:57 Am's about Iran, meanwhile I do agree that my culture(but not necessarily the people) does not deserve this government. Unfortunately the truth is that any nation deserves the government rulling it. At the same time, unlike Mr./Mis. Anonymous 3:55 Am,I do not believe that my people are so backward to be ruled by these barbaric invadors. The whole story in this country now is about Power not the Religion. This government is taking advantage of people's belief and gaining more power under the name of Islam.
    Nowhere in the Islamic law book are cars or driving license confiscation the punishment for a Bihejab woman (I am sure cars did not exist at that time in Saudi Arabia let alone Driving licenses)!!! once a friend was called to the police station, Argueing about the same situation with the officer ,she was warned that more discussion could lead to a fake report of a more serious accusation( than just the scarf slipping back) and that could put her in jail or even...!!
    Though this was not her first experience. A worse one was when she was arrested 4 AM. in the street and was accused of Nothing!!! Do u really think such laws are written in our countries Islamic book?
    No. It's just the dictatorship under Islam's flag!!! And that's what my people should sooner or later realise.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:56 PM  

  • i really dont know what to say.
    that sounds absolutly crazy, losing your car and license for a week just for having your scarf slip a little!! :0

    By Anonymous Eddy, at 12:28 AM  

  • Hi There,

    This is Soheil again. Interesting story. Let me help you from my summer experience. There are two types of police cars. The ones with blue line on each side and the ones with green. Watch out for the second one. Its not so good to get in trouble with any of these people, avoid them as much as you can. :) and enjoy your time.
    Also if you are in a busy place with your female friend, pretend that you are in fact together. The less strange and akward you are, the less attention you will get. :)

    good luck

    By Anonymous soheil, at 1:30 PM  

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