TEHRAN (AFP) — Iran's police are to keep up their moral crackdown through the winter months, confronting couples whose behaviour in public is deemed to be inappropriate, officials said on Sunday.
Iran in April launched what has proved to be its most severe moral crackdown in years, handing out warnings to thousands of people for dress deemed to be unIslamic and other outlawed behaviour.
In a sign of the seriousness of the drive, police are to continue the crackdown in winter, the Fars news agency reported, whereas in the past it has been restricted to the summer months when dress is skimpier.
Ahmad Roozbehani, the head of the moral security police, was quoted as saying by the agency that his forces would be targeting "inappropriate" behaviour by couples in public, be they married or not.
"If someone is walking down the street with their legitimate partner, police will not ask for identification from them but if an obvious offence occurs or a report is received we will confront this.
"This also applies to the behaviour even of married couples. They should not have inappropriate behaviour and draw attention to themselves."
He did not give further details on the kind of behaviour proscribed but any kind of intimate cuddling between couples in public, let alone kissing, is a social taboo in Iran.
Holding hands has become acceptable in the Islamic republic, so long as the partners are married. Theoretically, unmarried boys and girls should not hang out in public, although this is often flouted.
Roozbehani also said the police would continue to focus on clothing such as the long coats or mantos that women wear to cover their bodily contours in line with Islamic dress rules.
"Using split mantos with open collars and inappropriate make-up are considered examples of that would be confronted," he said.
The police chief said that ski resorts in Iran -- which are often the scene of liberal behaviour and loose dress reviled by conservatives -- would also be targeted.
Some moderates have questioned the need for the moral crackdown but conservatives have applauded police for a drive they say is popular with the public and necessary to improve security in society.
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