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Iranian Police, Cleric Blame Victims In Isfahan Gang Rapes

Iran's chief prosecutor, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, says 14 men have been arrested and charged over an alleged gang rape at a party near the central city of Isfahan last month, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

The men allegedly crashed a party in the city of Khomeini Shahr late last month, locked all the men in a room, and raped the women attending the party.

Colonel Hossein Hosseinzadeh, chief of the police department's detectives bureau in Isfahan, was quoted in Iranian media as saying, "If the women at the party had worn their hijab properly, they might not have been persecuted."

Sociologist Mehrdad Darvishpour told Radio Farda on June 13 that the police are in no position to make such a judgment or to say who is responsible for the crimes.

He said that such comments by a police official send a negative message. "The police blatantly tell women that in the event they are raped, they will have no support," Darvishpour said, "and it tells men that they are allowed to rape any woman whose dress they find 'tempting' and whose hijab is not as the police would like it to be."

The leader of Friday Prayers in Khomeini Shahr also criticized the women who attended the party, saying those who were raped had "provoked" men by "drinking wine and dancing," and adding that their "crimes" should also be investigated.

A "moral security" campaign directed against the "improper" wearing of the hijab was launched in Tehran on June 13.

Police deputy commander Ahmad Reza Radan said that his forces would patrol the city and take action against women who wear tight clothes or whose hair is visible from under their head scarf, as well as those who walk dogs or are guilty of "noise pollution."