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Iran forbids public displays of affection
Morality police forbids 'inappropriate behavior of couples in public', including holding hands, kissing

Iranian police have decided to crack down on "inappropriate behavior of couples in public", the semi-official FARS new agency reported Sunday.

 

"If someone walks in the street with his partner and commits an offense, we will deal with it," Ahmad Ruzbahani, chief of the morality police, was quoted as saying. 

 

Iranian law forbids women to be seen in public with men who are not family members. However, not all Iranians comply, and many meet their significant others in public parks.

 

Now police have decided to put an end to the growing phenomenon and forbid couples to hold hands in public. Ruzbahani said married couples were also called upon to "act modestly" in public.

 

"They should not act in an inappropriate manner or in a way that will attract attention," he said.

 

Other police officials said kissing in public was also strictly forbidden.

 

Last week it was reported that a young woman committed suicide after being arrested for a "moral offense". Zuhara Bani, a 27-year-old med student, was caught in a public park with her boyfriend.

 

She was taken to a detention facility, where she hung herself 48 hours later with a piece of cloth she had found.

 

The wide scale campaign to enforce "morality" in Iran, which was launched some six months ago, has evoked opposing responses within the Islamic Republic. The moderates criticized the regime, while the conservative sector of Iranian society lauded the campaign, saying it has contributed to an increase in personal security and morality. 

 

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