Isfahan’s traffic police chief has insisted women in his central Iranian city are not allowed to obtain motorcycle licenses, in defiance of a court ruling two years ago.
Mohammad Reza Mohammadi told local council-owned Iran Metropolis News Agency (IMNA) on Tuesday that this was his interpretation of Article 20 of Iran’s Law on Investigation of Road Traffic Violations.
The law states that “the issuance of motorcycle licenses for men is the responsibility of the police of the Islamic Republic of Iran”. Mohammadi said: “If both men and women were supposed to be getting licenses, the word ‘men’ would not have been emphasized in the text.”
The soundbite came despite the fact that in August 2019, Iran’s Administrative Court of Justice ordered the Iranian Traffic Police to issue licenses to “qualified” women. The verdict had been issued after a woman living in Isfahan complained that she was eligible to drive a motorcycle, but police were blocking her from obtaining the necessary paperwork.
The judgment noted that the way that particular law had been written differed from Article 22 of the Law on Transportation and Transit of Foreign Goods, which states without qualification that police are “responsible for issuing driving licenses in the territory of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” Police have since appealed the ruling, while the Court’s own PR department admitted it had been “inconclusive”.
The interview with Mohammad Reza Mohammadi fell on the same day as it emerged women in the city of Mashhad are no longer able to access the city’s shared, public bicycles via a mobile phone app. Female app users are now directed by an automated message to one of the city’s women-only public parks.