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Iran Protest Demands End of Acid Attacks on Women

Iranians take part in a protest in front of the judiciary building on October 22, 2014 in Isfahan, 450 kilometres south of Tehran, in solidarity with women injured in a series of acid attacks. Around 1,000 people took part in the protest calling for better security with banners and placards demanding action after four women have been maimed by assailants on motorcycles who threw acid on them. The acid attacks have prompted speculation on social networks that the victims were targeted because they were "badly veiled," and female drivers have been urged to keep their car windows closed. ARYA JAFARI / AFP - Getty Images

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TEHRAN, Iran – Thousands spilled onto the city streets Isfahan in Iran Wednesday to protest a spate of acid attacks that have maimed at least nine women in the last three weeks, according to FARS news agency. Protesters chanted “death to extremists” and “Isfahan is our city, security is our right,” according to social media and a witness who spoke to NBC News. Some also linked the acid attacks to extremist militants that have taken over parts of neighboring Syria and Iraq: “Not doing anything about the attacks is like supporting ISIS.” Demonstrators also demanded that a leading cleric who had condoned the use of violence to on women who do not obey Islamic dress codes. Public protests became very rare following the crackdown on demonstrations against the disputed reelection of former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009.

The acid attacks come as Iran’s parliament debates a law backed by conservatives that would allow ordinary citizens to enforce their subjective interpretation of Islamic morality and dress codes. President Hassan Rouhani spoke out against the proposed legislation Wednesday. “Rue the day some lead our society down the path to insecurity, sow discord and cause rifts, all under the banner of Islam,” he told a cheering crowd in a speech broadcast live on television. “We should not see vice as manifested only in ‘bad hijab’ and overlook lies, corruption, slander and bribery,” he added, referring to the term used to describe when women do not follow the country’s strict dress codes.

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- Ali Arouzi

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