This description of life in the capital of Iran is full of elements not expect to find in an Islamic theocratic state. Writer Tim Judah investigates the Tehran underground:
Drug addiction is rife. While rich kids from the wealthier northern suburbs of Tehran pop ecstasy tabs and smoke dope, heroin and opium addiction are claiming an awful toll in the poorer south of the city. Drugs are freely available (as is strictly illegal alcohol), and the number of addicts is now believed to be between 1.2 million and two million people. Many believe that part of the problem is that corrupt policemen are in league with the dealers in exchange for a share of the profit.
Surprisingly, for a state that trumpets its moral values, prostitution is also now widespread - and, as anywhere else, prostitution and drug addiction are often intertwined. As dawn breaks, it is easy to find chador-clad and probably heroin-addicted working girls sleeping rough in Tehran's parks. (Unsurprisingly, HIV and Aids are now very much on the public health agenda of the Islamic Republic.) Many of these girls are runaways. They have often fled abusive, violent or drug-addicted parents, according to the women's rights activist, Mabobeh Abbasglizadeh, or they might be simple country girls who've seen the bright lights of the city on television and balk at the prospect of an early, joyless marriage to a much older man.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2002 October 07 08:44 PM Axis Of Evil|