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Iran gets first female taxi service

Friday, September 6, 2002

QOM, Iran -- Fixing her black head-to-toe cloak, Zahra Langroudi settles in behind the wheel and pulls away from the curb with her first passenger, officially becoming Iran's first female taxi driver.

Langroudi and nine other women represent the private Nesa Taxi Service, the first in Iran and in the unlikely location of the country's holy city of Qom, which is also known as Iran's "Vatican City."

Nayereh Aghaz, director of the Nesa Taxi Service, told The Associated Press on Thursday that she launched the company to promote women's rights and abilities in a society where men are dominant.

"I didn't launch the all-female taxi service to make history but to offer tension-free services to women and also to highlight their capabilities and promote the rights of women in Qom where women have little public life," Aghaz said.

Since starting the service Saturday, Aghaz says her office has been flooded with calls from female seminaries, hair salons, schools and wives of clerics.

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