by WorldTribune Staff, May 27, 2016
A group of Iranian college students who were “dancing and jubilating” at a graduation party that included men and women were arrested and given 99 lashes.
Iran’s judiciary said the punishments, believed to be part of a wider crackdown by Teheran’s hard-liners, were meted out in Qazvin, about 90 miles northwest of the capital.
Authorities arrested 11 women and 21 men after receiving a report that a mixed-sex party was being held in a villa on the outskirts of Qazvi, prosecutor Esmail Sadeghi Niaraki said. The women were described as “half naked,” meaning they were not wearing Islamic coverings.
“We hope this will be a lesson for those who break Islamic norms in private places,” Niaraki said.
The consumption of alcohol and mixed-sex parties are illegal in Iran. Dancing to Western music is frowned upon.
The arrests in Qazvin came a day after state news media reported authorities had raided parties in Kerman and at a “singles home” in Semnan, both provincial capitals.
In Kerman, 23 people were arrested, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported on May 25.
In Semnan, several “polluted singles houses were cleaned” and 97 people, including 10 women, were detained.
Analysts say Iran’s hard-line judiciary began a crackdown on such behavior after a major victory by a coalition of reformists and moderates in parliamentary elections in February.
President Hassan Rouhani had hoped the victory would allow his government to push for at least modest social changes and more personal freedoms.
Hard-liners, however, responded by stepping up its own activities, including the recent arrest of several so-called Instagram models who posed for photos without the mandatory hijab.
Judges in Iran have broad freedoms to interpret Islamic law, and according to the Constitution, the government and other institutions have no right to interfere with their decisions.