Iran scales back cultural freedoms at universities

Iran has enforced a stricter Islamic dress code at a number of universities, including a ban on female students wearing long nails, bright clothes and tattoos, an Iranian news agency reported yesterday.

The semi-official Fars news agency published a list of universities around Iran that were given a note outlining the code, but did not say on what basis they were selected.

The new rules ban women from “wearing caps or hats without scarves, tight and short jeans and body piercings [except earrings],” Fars said.

They said tattoos, long nails, tooth gems, tight overcoats and bright clothes were also banned.

Iran has been waging a  campaign against Western cultural influences. Under Islamic law imposed after the 1979 revolution, women have to cover their hair in public and wear loose-fitting clothes.

The new code also bans male students from dyeing their hair, plucking eyebrows or wearing shirts with “very short sleeves,” Fars said.

The authorities usually intensify efforts ahead of hot summer months when women tend to wear lighter clothes and brightly colored scarves, often pushed back to expose hair.

In recent years, crackdowns have extended into winter fashion as well — including a push against women’s trousers seen as too tight as well as men with spiky “Western-style” hairstyles.


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