A land dispute in the Iranian capital has sparked violent clashes that reportedly left several workers at a local car wash badly injured.
The incident occurred over the weekend, when dozens of municipal workers were said to have attacked a car wash in Tehran's Saadat Abad neighborhood, beating up the staff and demolishing the property.
Iranian media reported that Tehran's city government and the Qods mosque have been battling over ownership of the land where the car wash is located for several years.
Footage released by Iranian news sites shows several men with large sticks attacking a property that appears to be the car wash. A number of men in dark uniforms are also seen in the footage.
The video also shows images of the apparent aftermath of the attack: broken windows, damaged cars and properties, and car-wash workers with bandaged heads and arms. Reports said 10 workers had been hospitalized following the incident.
"I think they were Daesh. Daesh is the worst that we have," said one of the injured workers, using an alternative term for the Islamic State extremist group.
One man said the municipal workers arrived at 1:30 a.m. local time on February 7 to shut down the car wash. "We told them: '[Show] us your order. If you have an order, then we'll [obey],'" he said.
"There were eight of them at first, then there were 200, 300. Maybe 500," he added.
He said they attacked the car-wash workers with bricks and knives, and that their cars bore the logo of Tehran's municipality.
The injured car-wash employee who referred to the municipal workers as Daesh claimed they also used stun guns and tear gas. "My arm has been [hurt].... One of my ribs has been broken, they also injured my head with a cutlass. I don't know who to complain against. Do we even have someone to complain to?"
Speaking on February 10, Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf said the released footage showed only part of the incident, adding that municipal workers had also been injured.
"They injured the municipal workers with rocks and [sticks]," he said, suggesting that the city employees were enforcing the law.
However, he was also critical of the way the municipal workers handled their duty. "Our agents shouldn't have gotten involved in clashes. They should have chosen an alternative way to do the work and resolve the issue with an appropriate response," Qalibaf was quoted as saying by Iranian news sites.
He said the city will deal with the workers who misbehaved during the car wash incident. But he added that Tehran must fulfill its legal obligations.
Qalibaf praised the members of the board of directors of the Qods mosque as "trustful and respected" individuals, while adding that the land where the car wash is located belongs to the city, which has assigned it to another organization.