A teen-age girl was standing on Tehran's Mossadeq avenue the other day handing out leaflets of the Islamic leftist Mujahideen-e Khalq guerrilla organization. Suddenly she was pounced upon by a heavily bearded man swearing khaki camouflage trousers and a jungle-green jacket.
The girl made a dash for it. She dodged between pedestrians and then ran wildly onto the avenue. But she bumped into an orange taxicab crawling by at a snail's pace, and the bearded man managed to grab her and begin roughing her up.
A small crowd that had gathered came immediately to the girl's rescue. While five or six strong men pushed and shoved the bearded man to the other side of the street, another section of the crowd spirited the girl away.
"She's distributing leaflets!" the bearded man yelled, trying to justify his behavior. He appeared to be an off-duty Islamic revolutionary guard.
"So what?" someone from the crowd shouted back.
"Is it Islamic to behave that way with a girl?" someone else asked.
"They are destroying the self-respect of Islam," said a third, casting an angry look at the revolutionary guard.
The incident epitomizes growing rift in Iran today between those who believe the 1978-79 revolution was fought to achieve political freedom and those who believe it was fought to establish a fundamentalist Islamic state.
The fundamentalists, who hold West German G-3 rifles and Israeli Uzi submachine guns, have indicated they are ready to use their weapons to enforce their beliefs. One revolutionary guard interviewed by the state television at the Susangerd front put it bluntly:
"We have heard what is going on in Tehra. When this war is over we shall return there and settle the matter. We shall return with our weapons."