May 23, 2007

Iran: Vice Squad Targets Women on Bicycles

Thousands of women have been cited and hundreds will stand trial for not complying with the Iranian government’s new rules on stricter Islamic dress, listening to Western music and even walking a dog in public, which officials consider impure.

Activists are circulating photos of a woman they say was beaten bloody by police during a confrontation over her clothing and veil, provoking an uproar among Iranian bloggers.

The new restrictions, introduced for “the country’s moral health,” also include a ban on satellite dishes, co-ed Internet cafes, and any public establishment with darkened windows that prevent officials from peering in, according to ADNKronos.

Iranian clergy are also designing a new bicycle for women that has a cabin to cover half of a woman’s body.

Officials consider women’s body movements on a bicycle to be “provocative” to men, as are female athletes — who must compete wearing scarves and gowns.

Reports claim that most people have not changed their habits, appearing to follow the rules while keeping their dogs and satellite dishes.

But protests followed a series of arrests at the country’s top university, where students are accused of collaborating with foreign powers and banned from political activity.

Sources:

“Iran: society ignores the government’s touted moralization campaign”
ADNKronos, May 18, 2007

“Iran: men and women to be separated in internet cafes”
ADNKronos, May 18, 2007

“Iran plans women’s bicycles”
Deutsche Presse-Agentur, May 19, 2007

“Police Brutality in Iran against Women”
Kamangir (Iranian blog), May 20, 2007

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