Ahmadinejad's fashion statement – jacket but no tie
Iran's war on neckties: The importation of ties, which "contradict the nature of Iranian culture," must come to an end, a senior Iranian customs official said Thursday.
"We must adopt serious actions in order to put an end to the importation of ties," Iranian Customs Deputy Director Asgar Hamidi was quoted as saying by Iranian news agency Fars. "We must change import laws to that end."
In addition to his customs duties, Hamidi also heads the Iranian program for the "development of culture, modesty, and headdress."
The custom of wearing neckties developed in Iran during the Shah's regime. However, in the wake of the 1979 Islamic revolution, ties were banned by authorities because they were perceived as a sign of westernization. Since then, senior Iranian officials and government ministry employees have shunned ties.
Notably, volunteers for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard walk the streets with scissors in order to cut ties should they encounter them.
'Modesty patrols' doubledMeanwhile, Iranian police said this week that it will be doubling "modesty patrols" on the country's streets. The patrols are undertaken by special vehicles carrying women wearing black veils and a police officer who reprimand Iranians caught violating modesty regulations.
Last year, Iran launched an unprecedented campaign aimed at enforcing Muslim dress code, particularly among women, in a bid to hide any trace of Western haircuts. Thousands of women were reprimanded on the streets in the framework of the campaign, and some were taken to a police station in order to be "briefed."
The harsh measures by authorities stem from the growing openness of Iranian society to the West via the Internet and satellite television. In recent years, Iranian women have increasingly resorted to revealing clothing, exposing their hair or wearing shoes that expose their ankles. Meanwhile, Iranian men have also started to test the regime, with doctors and businessmen in particular increasingly wearing neckties.