DUBAI - Iran has arrested a number of people suspected of throwing acid at women deemed to be wearing Islamic headcovering improperly, authorities said on Monday, following a series of attacks in Isfahan that have caused widespread anger.
Morteza Mir Bagheri, deputy interior minister for social affairs, said "three or four" suspects were held in connection with the incidents in Iran's third largest city, which have been condemned by religious clerics as well as ordinary people.
Hossein Ashtari, a police commander in Isfahan, confirmed at least four attacks, according to the official Jaam-e-Jam website, but unofficial reports put the number at up to 11.
Ashtari was reported as saying he suspected that the culprits were likely to be "mentally unstable."
Pictures of the victims carried on official state news agency IRNA showed women covered in bandages lying on hospital beds.
In a description of one of the assaults, IRNA said a 28-year-old woman suddenly lost control of her car, which came to a halt in the middle of a junction.
"Everyone was shocked when they saw the young girl screaming 'I'm burned, I'm burned'," it said.
A witness said they saw the woman get out of her car and take off her headscarf. "The level of acid used was so much that all her clothes were in the processes of melting and I saw the acid create white spots on the asphalt," IRNA reported.
The Interior Ministry and the local government in Isfahan have said they are investigating the matter.