Last week, Iranian citizens took to the streets of Isfahan to protest a recent spate of violent acid attacks against women. Holding placards showing their solidarity with the victims, the peaceful protestors called for Iranian authorities to hold the attackers accountable.
We know that these kind of egregious attacks happen against women around the world, and I have spoken out before about incidents in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Women are often the drivers of economic growth and cultural change, but they are also often the targets of horrible violence.
What is especially troubling about the Isfahan attacks is that they follow the passage of a new law in Iranian parliament, which is reportedly “designed to protect those who correct people acting in an un-Islamic way.” It is the women, the survivors, who should be protected, not their attackers.
Even as the Administration continues to negotiate with the Iranian regime on nuclear issues, we cannot lose sight of the regime’s egregious human rights record. The Iranian government must take action – at both the local and federal levels – to hold accountable those hardliners who perpetrated these attacks and to reverse the legislative framework that protects these criminals.