It appears that water fighting and water guns are becoming sensitive issues in Iran.
Earlier this month, a number of young people were arrested
in Tehran after taking part in a water fight in public. They were accused of violating Islamic principles and norms.
A few days later, 17 people were reportedly arrested
in Bandar Abbas for splashing water at each other. The young people in Tehran and Bandar Abbas used water guns and bottles.
Following the two incidents, General Ahmad Rouzbahani, head of Iran's morality police, warned that police "will act forcefully" against similar behavior and would not allow such events to happen in public places, or anywhere across the country."
Meanwhile, a woman in the Iranian capital who didn't want to be named told "Persian Letters" that last week in a shopping center in Shahrak Gharb, a shop owner refused to sell her a plastic water gun her 5-year-old daughter had seen in the shop window.
The woman said the shop owner said that they had been ordered not to sell water guns. When she insisted that her daughter would not carry it in public and that no one would know she got it from his shop, the toy-shop owner said, "I don't want my shop to be closed for selling a water pistol.
He added that "the police have got the number of these pistols I have in stock and I am not allowed to take a single one for any of my relatives. They said they would check me every now and then."
"There are bikinis for your daughter and yourself, there are no bans on them but water pistols are another story," the woman quoted the shop owner as saying.
It's not clear why the shop owner had the pistol displayed in the shop window if he didn't want to sell it. It could be that he hadn't had time to remove it.
And as usual, Iranians are using humor to cope with the sometimes absurd situations they find themselves in. Here is a joke that is circulating about the recent incidents:
"A man walks into a shop and asks for a bottle of water. The shop owner wraps it in a newspaper and gives it to him. The man asks: 'Why did you wrap it in newspaper? It's only water, not alcohol or anything. (Alcohol is banned in Iran and when people buy it from dealers on the black market, it's often wrapped in newspaper and put in a dark bag.) The shop owner says: 'I know, but it's becoming very dangerous. You could end up in prison and your sentence could be heavier than for carrying alcohol."
-- Golnaz Esfandiari, Mehrdad Mirdamadi