TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian authorities have arrested four people suspected of throwing acid on women, according to a report by the official IRNA news agency.
A string of acid attacks against at least two women in the central city of Isfahan last week prompted a loud public outcry. According to Iranian law, the four suspects, if convicted, could face the death penalty.
The IRNA report doesn't reveal the identities of the suspects or their possible motives. However, local speculation centers on the possibility that the attackers believed the targeted women weren't dressing modestly enough.
Iranian women must cover themselves in public with an enveloping head-to-toe veil. But Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejehei, a spokesman for the Iranian judiciary, told the semi-official Fars news agency Monday that the suspects, if convicted, should receive harsh sentences as a message to other potential vigilantes. "The perpetrators of such acts should be punished, but pre-emptive punishment so others do not dare to do such actions," he said.
Ahmad Shouhani, an Iranian parliament member, told IRNA that any sort of vigilante enforcement of that legal dress-code would not be permitted. "Any improper veiling should be punished by law, not individually," Shouhani said.