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Iran bans men from looking at women during Ramadan

Women on the street in Shiraz, Iran. (Gabriel White/Flickr)
May 13, 2019
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Iran has ordered its men to stop looking at women during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Along with banning men from looking at women, the Iranian government also announced bans on eating in public, and playing music in cars, as part of a new social crackdown, The Telegraph reported Saturday.

“My personal advice to women is to respect the hijab even more than before and gentlemen must avoid looking directly at female passersby,” Gholam- Hossein Esmaili, a judiciary spokesperson said.

“Anyone ignoring these instructions during the Ramadan will be committing an offense and should expect some punishment from the law enforcement units.”

Those who break the rules will be punished, from fines to arrest and imprisonment, depending on the crime.

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The strict new rules are said to be a product of Iran’s increasing civil unrest, allowing the government to maintain some semblance of control over its discontent people.

Iranian authorities are also investigating viral videos of Iranian schoolgirls and some teachers smiling while dancing to a pop song by U.S.-Iranian rapper Sassy. Officials have deployed specialist teams to determine the source of the video.

“The enemy is trying different ways to create anxiety among the people including by spreading these disturbing videos,” Iran’s Education minister Mohammad Bathaei said, according to The Daily Mail. “I’m certain there’s some kind of political plot behind the publication of these devious clips in schools.”

Iran’s Guardian Councilmember Ayatollah Abbas Ka’bi called the videos fuel for “the enemy’s cultural war” against Iran.

Iran’s society has felt the pressure from the collapsed currency, the rial, which has nearly collapsed while inflation has risen to nearly 40 percent.

Other civil unrest has taken place in the form of protests and strikes, as labor and civil service strikes have been underway, along with women’s rights demonstrations.

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Recently, Iranian male and female students have been protesting Iran’s mandatory headscarf law.

Since 1980 Iranian women have been required to wear a headscarf in public at all times while in Iran, and if found violating those rules, they are subject to two months in prison or a $25 fine, the Associated Press reported.

As protests against headscarves have intensified since 2017, Iranian law enforcement have toughened their stance against dissidents. One such example is human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoude, who received a seven-year prison sentence just for defending women’s rights activists.

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