Accusations of beatings and the use of tear gas have been made against members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps by tourists in a scenic resort area of the country.

Witnesses say that Thursday evening, a group of security officers — said to be wearing uniforms associated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC — attacked tourists at the Opert summer resort.

An eyewitness told Voice of America that a few hours after they arrived at the resort, two cars displaying IRGC insignia drove up and the occupants aggressively ordered women to adhere to the hijab dress code.

After some time, they left the area. However, the source said, the officers returned in the late hours of the night and subjected the tourists to “beatings and tear gas.”

The witnesses said the officers employed “vulgar language and sheer violence,” emphasizing that “it is the month of Muharram,” while insisting the tourists surrender any alcoholic drinks they possessed.

“Disregarding the presence of children, the officers subjected the tourists to severe beating and kicking, using batons and shockers, tearing apart their tents,” the source said. “Unable to find evidence of alcoholic beverages, they eventually departed from the scene.”

Opert, a picturesque border area between Semnan and Mazandaran provinces, attracts visitors with its untamed landscapes, distinctive highlands and the mesmerizing clouds. The region lies at the northernmost edge of Semnan and the southernmost edge of Mazandaran, making it a sought-after tourist destination.

Amid nationwide protests and women’s defiance of compulsory hijab laws, the Islamic Republic is exerting pressure and violence throughout society to enforce mandatory hijab wearing.

In recent events, the Cultural Heritage Office of Kermanshah province dismissed the manager of a historical site for allowing tourists “without observing Islamic norms.” Similarly, publishing a marriage proposal video at Hafez’s tomb in Shiraz sparked considerable controversy, resulting in the detention of the site’s manager and the suspension of the director-general of tourism in Fars province.

Recently, Ibrahim Pourfaraj, the head of the Iranian Tour Operators Association, referred to the nationwide protests in Iran and expressed concern about the current situation of foreign tourists entering the country, which has not returned to the pre-2019 routine. He warned that if there is no improvement, Iran may risk being removed from the list of travel destinations.

Following the protests after the September 2022 death of Mahsa Amini, the inflow of foreign tourists to Iran nearly stopped altogether. On October 10, 2022, Mohsen Haji-Saeed, the head of the board of directors of the Association of Tourism Guides, revealed that because of the protests, Germany, Spain, South Africa, Brazil and Australia had completely canceled all their planned tours to Iran.

Source » voanews