Iran Bars 71 Improperly Dressed Women From Boarding Planes

Although this story is from last month, it was posted this week on the Arab Times' website.

From the Arab Times (Kuwait):
TEHRAN, June 14, (AFP): Seventy-one Iranian women “improperly” dressed were prevented from boarding flights in recent months, an airport official said on Monday, as a police crackdown on the behaviour of young people intensified.

Iranian airports security chief Nabiollah Heidari told ILNA news agency that “in the first 82 days of the current Iranian year (which began on March 21), 71 women were barred from boarding flights because they were improperly dressed.”

“Their cases have been forwarded to the judiciary,” he added.

Iranian women have to abide by an enforced Islamic dress code, and summer crackdowns on what the authorities perceive to be un-Islamic attire are common. Women are often warned about wearing body-hugging short coats and flimsy headscarves in defiance of the Islamic republic’s sharia-based law, which stipulates modest dress.

Every post-pubescent woman in Iran is required to cover her hair and bodily contours in public, but young women are often seen with their hair only half covered by a scarf.

The punishment for women flouting the strict dress code is a fine of up to 13 million rials ($1,300). In recent weeks the dress code has been more strictly enforced, with police confiscating cars whose drivers are deemed to be harassing women, according to local media that did not clarify what amounts to harassment.

The reports say the crackdown has become a major issue for Iran’s youth, with police or hardline militiamen stopping luxury cars to question boys and girls on board about their relationship.

Heidari also said that warnings were issued to 87,714 women during these 82 days for not covering their hair properly, while 3,506 such women gave “commitments” that they would follow the Islamic dress code.

On Sunday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he “strongly” opposed the ongoing crackdown. “It is impossible for such actions to be successful,” he said in an interview on state television.

“The government is not interfering in this. We consider it is insulting to ask a boy and girl about their relationship. Nobody has the right to ask people such a question.”

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Sunday that he was “strongly” opposed to a police crackdown against women deemed to be in un-Islamic dress and on the behaviour of youths in public.

“I am strongly against such actions. It is impossible for such actions to be successful,” Ahmadinejad said in an interview on state television when asked about the crackdown which has intensified in past weeks.

Police have launched the crackdown, confiscating cars whose drivers are deemed to be harassing women, according to local media, but without clarification of what amounts to harassment.

The reports say the crackdown has become a major issue for Iran’s youth, with police or hardline militiamen stopping luxury cars with boys and girls on board to question about their relationship.

They say measures to ensure women abide by the Islamic dress code enforced in Iran are being more strictly applied.

Summer-time crackdowns on what authorities perceive as un-Islamic behaviour and attire are common in Iran. But youths, especially women, have faced tougher moral policing under the rule of hardliner Ahmadinejad since 2005.

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