Tehran’s underground train missionaries
06 Oct 11

Religious women will be stationed outside of Tehran’s underground stations in an effort to enlighten and guide female commuters back on the straight and narrow path.

The Chief of Operations of Tehran’s Metro system Ali Mohammad Gholiha, told Mehr News that 50 women will be placed at various underground locations “to enable passengers to ask questions or discuss any religious problems they may have.” A similar effort was launched for men during Ramadan this year, with 80 seminary students stationed at 30 stops, and they even tried the initiative in one female carriage.

The missionaries work directly in the carriages, and Mehr News confronted Gholiha about the reported instances of men trespassing onto the women-only carriages without penalty.  His reply was that they did not want to promote negativity while the system was established among passengers. Such a statement is hypocritical, since interference is a regular aspect of life in Iran. The Chief of Operations’ assurance was that “a cultural announcement is made every 10 minutes over the tannoy, that we hope attitudes of resistance will disappear by the end of the trial period.”

Meanwhile, Tehran artist Elham Attai Azar has responded with these illustrations depicting the character and assortment of female commuters in Tehran.