Shooting of Street Vendor Outside Tehran’s City Theater Raises Safety Concerns

Frequent fights between street vendors are threatening public safety and security around one of the most established and prestigious performing arts complexes in the country, the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) reported, citing Saeed Asadi, the manager of the City Theater of Tehran. 

Mr. Asadi made the comments during an interview with ISNA following a shooting incident earlier this month involving two street vendors outside the City Theater.

“I have written many letters to the authorities in the past few months, warning about the alarming number of knife fights among street vendors who sell goods around the City Theater of Tehran,” Asadi said. “These are organized gangs of peddlers who have taken over the sidewalks and streets around the theatre. The Tehran police and city officials had promised to address the problem, but nothing has happened so far.”

Asadi added: “Security personnel stationed around the theatre successfully disarmed the assailant last night, and held both men involved in the shooting inside the theater until police officers from the local presinct arrived. People are safe once they are inside the theater building, but are very vulnerable walking around the neighborhood. Many of these street vendors carry knives and guns.” 

“We constantly worry that something bad could happen. The shooting earlier tonight proved us right. The authorities must get to the root of this problem. Otherwise, it will persist,” Asadi warned.

“Around 7 p.m. local time on the evening of June 9, police were called to investigate a shooting incident near the City Theatre of Tehran,” Colonel Kayvan Zahiri, the commander of 110 prescient, told ISNA. “Preliminary investigations showed that during a physical altercation, a 24-year-old man shot a 26-year-old man in the leg using a Colt pistol. According to the assailant, the fight had started after the other man had made a derogatory remark about the attacker’s deceased mother.”

Commander Zahiri added: “Police arrested both men at the theater and charged the attacker with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Emergency services treated the victim of the shooting at the scene. The assailant confessed to the shooting, adding that he had bought the gun in one of the western provinces. He had fired two shots, one in the air and the other into the other person’s leg.”

Mr. Zahiri explained: “Police also discovered that the assailant had attempted suicide at least three times in the past, and that is the reason he had bought the gun. He and the victim had been friends for three months, one of them selling T-shirts and the other decorative beads near the theater.”

[Translated from Persian by Fardine Hamidi]