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Iranian Police Arrest Water-Pistol 'Rebels'

Young people fight with water guns in a park in Tehran last month.
Iranian police have started cracking down on water fights springing up across the country, arresting several young men and women who took part in the latest organized water-pistol battles.

The semi-official Mehr news agency has reported that several young Iranians were arrested on September 2 in a Tehran park for taking part in a water pistol fight. The news agency described those arrested as "rebels."

"A handful of people who wanted to challenge social norms and [engage] in water fights were arrested by the police" in a park in Tehran, deputy police chief Ahmad Reza Radan told Mehr on September 4.

"The people who involve in such actions are either stupid or not respectful of the law," Radan said. "The police will not allow them to achieve their goals...and will confront the main organizers" of such events.

In late July, several hundred young people took part in a huge water fight using plastic water pistols as well as bottled water at the same park in Tehran, arranging the event on social-networking sites.

Mingling between sexes outside marriage is banned in Iran.

Conservatives in the Islamic republic have been scandalized by scenes of dozens of youngsters spraying each other with water in public.

The water fights -- seen as the latest manifestation of youthful rebellion by Iranians against Islamic norms -- have since spread across the country, despite warnings from authorities.

Conservatives say the water fights are immoral and must be stamped out to prevent what they say is the corruption of youth.

compiled from agency reports