TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – This is a men’s club located in the tangled car repair shops on the congested streets of the Iranian capital Tehran. Among them, workers work in dark garages, weld wrenches, make and paint.
That’s how 34-year-old Mariam Ruahani jumps out from under the hood of a maintenance shop in northeastern Tehran, her uniform dirty with grease and grease, wearing black jeans and long hair tucked into a baseball cap – which she replaces in her job. the Iranian mandatory Islamic headscarf or hijab.
Repeating the blue BMW sedan in the store until it was lit, she could not be further from the farms of her childhood. In the rural tribal village of Ag Mazar, near Iran̵
“I have some broken taboos,” Rouhani said in the garage, where he carefully covered the cars with eye-catching glare and scrapes from their engines. “I faced opposition when I chose this path.”
The car industry remains dominated by men around the world, let alone in the traditional Islamic Republic. Iranian women, especially in cities, have still infiltrated over the years. They now make up more than half of all college graduates and a significant part of the workforce.
The daughter of a farmer, Roohani grew up working the land like most other children in Ag Mazar. But unlike her five siblings, she turned her eyes to her father’s tractor and developed an unusual ability to drive it at an early age.
Even as she worked as a hairdresser and trained as a make-up artist in Boynurd, the provincial capital, she was more attracted to car coatings.
To the disregard of the villagers and some family members, she traded used cars for extra money and dreamed of working as a polishing car and detail. Although relatives turned against her and cut off contact, her father was more liberal, supporting her despite the rejection and allowing her to postpone the marriage to continue her love of polishing.
There were no international car polishing training programs that she could not find in the rolling wheat and barley fields in North Khorasan province or elsewhere in the country at the time. So she flew to Turkey, where she fights male skeptics to win her car polishing certificate.
Armed with authority, she set up shop in a small, rented garage space in Tehran. Customers flocked to marvel at the first detail of women’s cars in the area, clicking photos and sharing footage on social media. Her Instagram account and online persona like Iran’s “Miss Detailer” are growing.
But her initial successes have provoked resentment from fellow men – and sometimes even sabotage.
Some have soiled her polishing pads with acid to burn the paint on her customers’ cars, she said. Others forged her machines and tore up the expensive tampons she bought with her life savings, she said. The complaints of the owner of the garage did not go anywhere and without hard evidence, the police could not help either.
Rouhani wanted to cut off and then run away. But her reputation had caught the attention of a well-known car repair shop in Tehran, which suddenly offered her a job. In the last few years, she has fulfilled her dream as a professional polishing car, detail and washing machine.
Ruhani even now trains and inspires other women to do the same, despite obstacles. Her online videos include her hard work polishing a vintage Chevrolet Chevelle or smiling over the hood of a freshly detailed black-and-black BMW so smoothly that a plastic cup slides over it.
“I was excited the first time I saw (Roohani) because in Iran, with restrictions on women, we usually don’t believe in doing such things,” said Farahnaz Deravi, one of Roohani’s interns.
Interest in repair work in Iran erupted after former President Donald Trump withdrew from Tehran’s remarkable nuclear deal with world powers and imposed harsh sanctions. To preserve its foreign currency, Iran has banned the import of Asian and European cars, leading to a fourfold increase in car prices. Iranians who have the means to own expensive cars value them more than ever and pay hefty sums to keep the status symbol.
Although Rouhani’s business is booming, Iran’s economy is struggling with a series of growing crises, including international isolation and a raging pandemic. Now Rouhani imagines his future as a professional detail abroad and hopes to one day start his own business somewhere in Europe.
“The Iranian Miss Detail should shine there,” she said, smiling.
Follow Mohammad Nasiri on Twitter at www.twitter.com/moenasiri.