Iran cracks down on water pistols
Iranian police have started cracking down on water fights springing up across the country, arresting several young men and women who took part in the latest organised water-pistol battles.
A water fight in a Teheran park on Friday, thought to have been organised through social media websites, was broken up by police who arrested several of the revellers, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported yesterday.
"Some of these rebels who intended to play water-fight were arrested by police on Friday," Ahmadreza Radan, Tehran's deputy police chief, told Mehr.
Mingling of the sexes outside marriage is banned in Iran and conservatives in the Islamic republic have been scandalised by scenes of dozens of youngsters spraying each other with water in public.
Various websites have posted photographs of girls and boys in wet clothes throwing water balloons, firing water guns and splashing each other with water from bottles.
The fights have since spread across the country despite warnings from authorities.
They are seen as the latest manifestation of youthful rebellion by Iranians against Islamic norms, which require women to cover their hair in public and wear loose-fitting clothes. Much "Western" entertainment is banned as immoral and "unIslamic".
Conservatives say the water fights must be stamped out to prevent what they say is the corruption of Iranian youths, much of which is blamed on a deliberate "soft war" waged by the West through TV, films and pop music.