Jul 15, 2007
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Iran to intensify drive against unIslamic dress

Jul 15, 2007

AFP - Iran warned that its police will enforce a drive against clothing deemed unIslamic with renewed vigour this month by doubling the number of forces assigned to check up on lax dressing, local media reported.

Women in Burkas walk past a clothes shop
Photo : Anja Niedringhaus/AFP

Thousands of women have already been warned and hundreds arrested across Iran for failing to adhere to the country's Islamic dress code since the drive began in April, its toughest such crackdown in years.

Ahmad Reza Radan, the head of Tehran's police force, dismissed any notion that the crackdown was now fizzling out, saying it was "unstoppable".

"From July 23, the number of police assigned to this mission will be doubled," he told the student news agency ISNA late on Saturday.

"We will multiply the number of patrols from July 23 in such a way that all streets, parks and places of entertainment be covered," he added.

He said the police's policy will be first to give a verbal warning to those who infringe the law and if necessary they will then be arrested and taken to a centre for "consultation".

"If their behaviour is not accidental they will then be handed over to the judiciary," he added.

Women in Iran are obliged to cover all bodily contours and their heads but in recent years many have pushed the boundaries by showing off naked ankles and fashionably-styled hair beneath their headscarves.

The dress crackdown is just one part of a major moral drive in Iran dubbed the "plan to increase security in society" that has also seen police act against drug addicts, water pipe smokers and thugs.

Many shops have stopped selling skimpy outer garments that the police deem offensive and Radan said the force would act against any remaining outlets "distributing inappropriate clothes."

"In recent days we have confronted a number of people who were badly dressed and we found out that their clothes were being in some special shops.

"Therefore we acted and we closed down these shops and we took the owners of these shops to the judiciary," he added.

Some conservatives have applauded the crackdown as important to protect the security of society but moderates have publicly questioned whether Iran would be better off tackling poverty and crime rather than slack dressing.

TEHRAN, July 15, 2007 (AFP)

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