The Power of Youth
By SUSANNE KOELBL,
Young Iranians look to excessive drug use and parties to escape their stifling lives. Following the conservatives' victory in parliament, many have turned away from politics. Religious hard-liners want to see a return to the Islamic model state.
Assal means honey, and that's what she looks like, sweet and seductive. She has conspicuously framed her black eyes with Kajal, her pale eye shadow is dabbed up to the high painted arches of her eyebrows, and her lower lip is pierced with a shiny ring.
Assal lies, trance-like, in the arms of her boyfriend, Mehdi. They have just kissed. Assal inhales the hot smoke of the designer drug "Ice," which makes her "high and light." It's Thursday night, party time in Tehran.
But Assal's back is covered with welts that haven't healed yet. A few weeks ago, the 19-year-old received 74 lashes with a braided leather whip, in the basement of the Tehran morals court on Bucharest Street. When she could no longer stand the pain, she begged for mercy. But the judge only instructed his assistant to press the girl more tightly against the frame of an iron bed, and told the woman inflicting the blows to hurry up and finish the punishment>>
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