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Iranian Police Renew Dress-Code Crackdown

Iran's conservative administration has tried to enforce an Islamic dress code since 2005.
TEHRAN (Reuters) -- Iranian police have warned shopkeepers not to use mannequins without head scarves or with exposed body curves, the official news agency IRNA reported.

"Unusual mannequins exposing body curves and with heads without hijabs are prohibited to be used in shops," Iran's moral security police in charge of Islamic dress codes said in a statement carried by IRNA.

Iranian police have periodically cracked down on women, men, boutiques, and small companies that fail to enforce strict religious dress codes since President Mahmud Ahmadinejad came to office in 2005.

The measures are the latest in a country-wide campaign against Western cultural influences in the Islamic republic, where strict dress codes are enforced.

"Displaying neckties or bowties in shop windows...and the selling of women's underwear by men are prohibited," said the police statement.

In the past, crackdowns tended to be launched at the start of Iran's hot summers and petered out soon after. But last year they extended into winter and included a drive against tight women's trousers and even men with spiky "Western" hairstyles.

Those who violate dress codes are usually cautioned on a first offense, sometimes after a brief visit to a police station. But they can be detained for longer, taken to court, and required to attend "guidance classes" after repeat offences.

Dress codes are most often flouted in wealthier, urban areas. Conservative dress is the norm in poorer, rural areas.