A vicious cycle. Only one sex can ride a bike in the streets of Iran.

25 October 2019 By Paul Martin

And she’s not the only one.

The Tehran-based bike-sharing company Bdood has stopped anyone with a female name from registering on its app.

A journalist revealed that the company had come under pressure from the police and from the prosecutor general’s office to stop providing services to women. To do so risked the government closing it down. The company has not commented.

Bdood – which means “fumeless” in Persian – was launched in 2017, claiming to be “the only smart bike-sharing company” in Iran. It says it has dozens of stations across the Iranian capital.

Influential hard-line clerics in Iran have ruled that it is “provocative” and therefore against Sharia law.

It’s happened also in another Iranian city. In May, the prosecutor-general of Isfahan city ordered the police to issue warnings to women riding bikes in public and seize their ID cards.

Ali Esfahani told the official IRNA news agency at the time that he had issued the order because local clerics “and families of martyrs” had complained. He added that it is also for the safety of women who become the subject of harassment.

Among other bizarre incidents of repression, an Iranian singer received a summons after she put on a solo performance. And Iranian official state television was rapped over the knuckles for showing the rear end of a buffalo. The sight of a buffalo’s bottom was deemed to be sexually provocative.

With the threat of expulsion from FIIFA hanging over them – the authorities provided a women-only area for one international match recently.

But in general women are not allowed into football stadiums to watch men’s games – even though there is no official ban. A number of women disguised themselves as men and got in but were arrested recently and released later on bail.

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