Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has ordered judiciary chief Sadeq Amoli Larijani to hold a trial for the perpetrators in a sexual abuse scandal that has shaken a boys’ high school in Tehran.
“The news of the criminal act at a West Tehran high school has caused sorrow and regret. You are required to quickly arrange trials for those accused and carry out the punishment called for by God,” Khamenei wrote in his order.
Iranian media, including Khabar Online news agency, reported on May 28 that a head teacher at a West Tehran high school had been arrested on charges of sexually abusing several students.
Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi told the press that the parents of 15 students had complained that their children were raped or otherwise sexually abused by the head teacher.
“The man accused of the crime has confessed to showing pornographic films to students on his phone but rejects other accusations,” Dolatabadi said.
Meanwhile, an Education Ministry official told the Iranian Labor News Agency that the ministry is considering shutting down the school where the abuse allegedly took place.
The agency quoted another official as saying that the ministry had suspended the principal.
In another development, Tehran MP Parvaneh Mafi told reporters that the education minister had been summoned to the Iranian Parliament for questioning.
The Tehran governor’s office has announced plans to train children to be aware of the threat posed by sexual predators.
Previously, Iran’s hardliners had ruled out a government plan to spread awareness about sexual abuse at schools.
Reports of sexual abuse of children at schools are not unprecedented in Iran. In a major case in 2015, a head teacher was suspended for two years after being lashed based on a court order.
In another case, which has remained inconclusive, a famous Koran teacher was accused of raping and molesting several pupils, but his trial was suspended and he was reportedly acquitted after an official linked to Khamenei’s office intervened.
Parents of the pupils are still pursuing the case, and some of the victims have released videos on social media accusing the teacher of sexual abuse.