A Tehran mosque becomes a mask production workshop

The mosque has been turned into a garment workshop where some 15 Iranians, lined up as students, each in front of a small table with a sewing machine, make masks and sheets.

They all wear black chador because they are members of the Bassidj, a popular “mobilization” movement backed by the countless mosques, ubiquitous in the Islamic Republic.

And in these times of pandemic of the new coronavirus, almost all wear a mask.

“Our group [de unas 40 mujeres] Every year, she went to the battlefields of the Iran-Iraq war to help visitors, “Fatemeh Saïdi, a 27-year-old girl who is enrolled in Bassidj with her husband, tells AFP.

More than 30 years after the end of this war (1980-1988), group visits to these areas are a mandatory step for civic education for a large part of Iranian youth during the Persian New Year holidays (end of March -early April).

“This year, due to the spread of the coronavirus, travel between cities has been banned and we were unable to go. So we came here to serve our compatriots. We have been working on this for more than a month,” says Saïdi.

This contributes to the national effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, which particularly affects Iran.

“Our situation is doubly difficult,” Iranian President Hassan Rohani said Monday, “because we are both facing sanctions. [estadounidenses contra Teherán, restablecidas e intensificadas por el presidente Donald Trump desde mayo de 2018] and the coronavirus. “

The national and foreign press were invited to the Emamzadeh-Masum mosque, in a neighborhood of the Iranian capital, where these women work, on the occasion of the visit of a command of the Guardians of the Revolution, the ideological army of the Islamic Republic.

As the seamstresses work, a team cuts the material to make the masks and orders them one by one. Others fold and accommodate fabric sheets as they are made.

In another room in the mosque, men sitting on prayer rugs make plastic gloves with rudimentary molds.

“We distribute these products in hospitals and disadvantaged areas of Tehran and other cities,” explains Saïdi.

One of the volunteers does not hide the religious reasons for her presence: for her it is nothing more nor less than “making the heart of Imam Zaman happy”, a pseudonym for Mahdi, the last of the twelve holy imams venerated in Shiite Islam, whose return awaited by believers will herald the end of time and the beginning of an era of justice and peace.