16 Jul 2012

Crackdown on cafes in Iran

9:05 am on 16 July 2012

Police in Iran closed dozens of restaurants and coffee shops on Saturday in a renewed crackdown on what the state sees as immoral and un-Islamic behaviour.

A student news agency reports that regular officers and morality police officers raided 87 cafes and restaurants in a single district of the capital Tehran and arrested women for flouting the dress code.

Police say the shops were shut for not following Islamic values, providing hookah (water pipes) to women and lacking proper licences.

Women are barred from smoking water pipes in public in Iran.

Coffee shop culture has flourished in Iran, offering wireless Internet, snacks, hot drinks, and a place for young people to gather.

However, conservatives consider this to be a cultural imposition from the West. The government periodically cracks down on mingling between the sexes outside of marriage.