‘‘I am by no means an expert in gang culture or anything like that, but it is interesting. Come on, an image of a guy holding a gun will definitely attract your attention more than an image of a pristine landscape. I do not know anything about Iran, but Tehran is on my list of places to visit. Aside from the stories about Iranians as great people and the bullshit news headlines, my knowledge about Iran is non-existent. So I really welcome this book. Every country, no matter how orderly it looks from the outside, has its dark side that is desperately fighting not to be exposed. Its power lies in secrecy. Once exposed, it becomes vulnerable. It is not easy to get in, dig stuff out and put yourself on the line.’’

— Boogie 

‘‘I have been making photos of underground culture for over 20 years, and have made many images of different gangs of all kinds, in different countries from all over the world. At first I would notice the differences but once I started doing the photos I noticed the similarities that they all had in common, respect and brotherhood were the main qualities, and of course the criminal activity, tattoos, prison, guns, drugs and the business of the gang. Iran is a place I have not been to, but this to me looks like it has been documented with some great photography and needs to be seen.’’

— Estevan Oriol

‘‘In life a man must either become angelic or human or animal. I have become none of these things.’’

Crime Wave Tehran was compiled by Pouria Khojastehpay through individual submissions, research in Iranian media archives, and social media.

This book provides a glimpse behind the curtain of state-censorship and takes a closer look into the life of Iranian organized crime group members. Their activity went beyond gang fights, larceny, and escalated into the illegal arms and drug trade, bank robberies, dog fighting, human trafficking, and contract killing.

From battle scars and prayers, to criminal tattoos and blood spilt for gold, the Iranian criminals are united by a life in between crime and their devotion to Shia Islam.