A 28-year-old artist and editor has been arrested after she was filmed arguing with a woman on a bus over forced hijab, in the course of which she said the woman had bitten her.
Sepideh Rashnu was accosted in the packed female section of the bus by a veiled woman who also recorded her, saying: “You send my video to Masih Alinejad [a US-based activist who has campaigned for women’s rights in Iran], she can’t do anything to me. But I’ll send your video to the Revolutionary Guards. Let’s see what they’ll do to you.”
An undercover agent filmed this Iranian woman for the Revolutionary Guards in order to arrest her for not wearing hijab.— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) July 16, 2022
Women got united & kick the harasser out. Now it’s our time to get united & help Iranian women who want to be free to choose what they want to wear.#LetUsTalk pic.twitter.com/erlaBgNnvB
In the altercation that followed a number of surrounding women forced the veiled woman off the bus, with some reaching out to strike her through the crush. Rashnu then held her wrist up to her own camera, revealing what appeared to be bite marks.
The civil rights activist and ex-political prisoner Arash Sadeghi reported on Saturday that Rashnu had been arrested earlier that day and was still in custody. “The attacker walks free,” he wrote. “That’s what justice means…”
زن معترض به تذکر حجاب در— Arash Sadeghi (@Arash_sadeghii) July 18, 2022
اتوبوس، #سپیده_رشنو در ۲۵تیرماه بازداشت شده است.او ۲۸ ساله،هنرمند و داستاننویس و ویراستار است
او را بازداشت کرده اند و این در حالی است که زن آزارگر #رایحه_ربیعی که عکس های حمله فیزیکی او به افراد در اتوبوس منتشر شده آزاد است.
عدالت یعنی همین... pic.twitter.com/WmdzHyp9yi
The video itself caused uproar both in Iran and on social media, where the veiled woman was identified as Raiha Rabiei: the daughter of Efat Nobari, a professor of literature at Islamic Azad University.
In a report on the scuffle, the IRGC-owned Fars News Agency claimed that the video itself was recorded a month ago and the “perpetrators of the attacks” were under arrest. In the report, Reshnoo was introduced as a “member of an organized network to subvert hijab, linked to Masih Alinejad.”
The incident came in the midst of a country-wide crackdown on women’s freedom of dress in major cities, which prompted Iranian women to take off their veils in public as a sign of protest last Monday. Apart from renewed arrests, mixed venues have been shut down and morality patrols have redoubled their efforts in restaurants, banks, government offices and even hospitals.