Before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran was beginning to resemble more of a westernized country.
Like images of a pre-taliban Afghanistan, the collection below shows how a theocracy can dampen a culture not just from a human rights perspective, but from an aesthetic one as well.
Women in the photos wear short skirts, tight shirts, and freely show skin and even cleavage. They also show women posing at home, out on the street, and even near Iranian landmarks, which is unthinkable in today’s Iran.
However, the Ayatollah Khomeini, supported by a large portion of the Arabic-Muslim minority, turned back the clock on many of the personal freedoms women enjoyed under the Shah’s monarchical rule. Images like these serve as startling reminders that women are usually the first affected under theocracies and oppressive regimes.