Iranian police cancelled a fashion show scheduled to mark the opening of a Levi’s store in a Tehran mall on Wednesday.
A “last-minute police intervention” took place just before male models were set to walk the catwalk in front of a crowd of 150, the state-run Tasnim news agency reported. The organizers of the event claimed that the event was cancelled due to “technical difficulties.”
Iranian law requires both men and women to wear “modest” dress, which is often enforced by the “morality police.” “Guidance patrols” also police the usage of alcohol, drugs, mixed-gender parties, and loud playing of music.
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An Iranian cleric claimed two weeks ago that Iranian women who dress in Western fashion are causing rivers to dry up, and suggested that the morality police should more to crack down on these lawbreakers. Imam Seyyed Youssef Tabatabi-Nejad has reportedly condoned violence against women who do not follow the codified dress rules.
The crackdown appears to be part of the Iranian regime’s continuing assault on freedoms, which has picked up even further since the nuclear deal was reached last year.
Last month, a goalkeeper for the Iranian national soccer team was suspended for six months for wearing SpongeBob SquarePants-themed pants. The move raised concerns among activists that “an increasing sensitivity towards dress and appearance on the part of Iranian authorities amounts to an intrusion into people’s private lives, ” The Guardian reported. In another recent example, the well-known Iranian actress Taraneh Alidoosti faced calls to have her banned from movies after a photograph was published that showed a feminist tattoo on her arm.
The New York Times reported in November that Iranians hoping that the nuclear deal would lead to a rapprochement with the West had been “jolted with a series of increasingly rude awakenings, ” including increased anti-American activity and a further erosion of rights. The Times report was prompted by the arrests of several prominent Iranian journalists and businessmen with ties to the United States.
Iran arrested eight women, including well-known model Elham Arab, for posting pictures of themselves on Instagram without proper hair-coverings last month. Two Iranian poets were sentenced to jail and 99 lashes each in October for shaking hands with members of the opposite sex. The following month, reports surfaced that Iranian actress Sadaf Taherian was forced to flee the country after she posted pictures of herself with her hair uncovered on social media.
Ironically, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was widely mocked in 2013 when he commented that Iranians were not allowed to wear jeans.
[Photo: Blake Burkhart / Wikimedia]