06/17/2008, 00.00
IRAN
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Women-only park opened in Tehran

They will be able to play sports and go jogging with their heads uncovered. But not outside of the "protected" area: a "moralising" campaign is launched against girls who do not follow Islamic dress code, and men with" Western" hair styles.

Tehran (AsiaNews) - A park has been opened in Tehran exclusively for women, who will be able to exercise and go jogging "safely" there, and even leave their heads uncovered.  Practically at the same time, the police have launched a "moralising" campaign: controls on the length of women's garments, and on men's hair styles, and sanctions for shops that sell "immoral" clothing.

Imposed with the Islamic revolution of 1979, the women's dress "code" requires that women be covered from head to toe and avoid tight-fitting clothes.  The moralising campaigns typically begin with the approach of summer, and the consequent desire to wear lighter clothing: those who are dressed "poorly" - in general with slacks that do not cover the entire leg, and with a few locks of hair straying out of the headscarf - risk fines, flogging, and prison, even if the matter is normally resolved with a warning on the part of the police (in the photo).

According to the newspaper Farhang-e Ashti, the new campaign was launched last Saturday against women dressed "indecently".  Men are also under fire: those with "Western" hair styles can be arrested.  Barbers who give such hair cuts are also in danger, as are the women's clothing shops that sell "indecent" clothing.

But uncovered hair will be permitted in the "Mothers' Paradise", the public park exclusively for women, inaugurated by the mayor of the capital, Mohammad Baqir Ghalibaf.  Surrounded by tall hedges and covered with colourful canopies, the park guarantees safety for the women who exercise there.  The news agency Fars clarifies that this is not the first women-only park in the country: other cities, including Mashad and Qom, already have them.

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