Iran is to deploy ski police to enforce segregation between men and women and to prevent immoral offences by the skiers, according to a police commander.
The slopes to the north of the capital Tehran and part of the Elburz mountain range are segregated and women are not allowed to ski in the absence of a male relative.
The Telegraph reports:
General Hossein Sajadinia, the commander of the Greater Tehran police force, promised that his officers would “prevent any immoral offences by the skiers”.
He told local media that a “ski police unit” had been equipped with new uniforms to “withstand the mountainous conditions and yet be flexible enough to arrest offenders while chasing them on the slopes”.
Young Iranians meet and mix on the mountains, where some women push back their veils while dining in ski slope restaurants and shisha cafes.
But Gen Sajadinia promised tough action against any transgressions. “This year we have sent a number of women officers to learn how to ski so they can carry out their vigilante duties of dealing with women who defy the Islamic hijab and those members of the public who play loud music while mixing with the opposite sex or commit sexual harassment,” he said.
The ski slopes of north Tehran have traditionally been a scene for confrontation between Iran’s hardliners and the affluent residents of the capital. “The closer one gets to the mountains, the less one feels the grip of the regime and its social restrictions,” said one Iranian on her Facebook page in reaction to the deployment of the ski police.
The slopes are segregated and women are not allowed to ski in the absence of a husband, father or brother.
Last week, a court in the historic city of Isfahan banned mixed-gender hiking by local visitors and foreign tourists, describing the trend as “an affront to the religious and revolutionary values of the Islamic Republic”.
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