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Iranian Police Crack Down On 'Satanic' Dress, Western Hairstyles


Iran's morality police are back on the beat. (file photo)

Iran's morality police are back on the beat. (file photo)

Police in the Iranian town of Qaemshahr have arrested some 40 young people for wearing "satanic" clothes and for sporting “Western” hairstyles.

Police Chief Mahmud Rahmani told Iranian news agencies that there are two reasons behind the crackdown -- to strengthen public security and to confront a “satanic culture.”

Punishment was not specified. Usual penalties for such behavior range from warnings to fines.

Rahmani said Iran's enemies want to deprive the country's youth of a decent life by promoting foreign cultures.

Women in Iran are required to cover their heads and wear loose-fitting clothes to hide their bodies. Men are not allowed to wear so-called Western-style T-shirts and spiky hairstyles.

Morality police arrest and fine dress-code offenders, including women who are showing their hair or wearing tight coats.

Neda, a 24-year-old resident of Tehran, told RFE/RL’s Radio Farda she was recently detained by police for wearing a white coat, a color that the morality officers found unsuitable.

“It is not clear what exactly the police want,” Neda said. “We cover our heads and bodies. We wear head scarves and long coats. But apparently nothing satisfies morality police officers. They always find a reason to punish us for violating their vague dress code.”

Neda said authorities are trying to further tighten an already restrictive dress code.

(by RFE/RL correspondent Farangis Najibullah)

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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