Iran police crackdown ‘targets posh cars’

IRANIAN police have launched a crackdown on irreverent social behavior, seizing cars whose drivers were deemed to be harassing women.

“Tehran police have seized 20 foreign-made, high-end cars which harassed women in the north and northwest of the capital,” IRNA said without explaining what amounted to harassment, , the state IRNA news agency reported.

Another 40 cars were confiscated in eastern Tehran on Saturday as part of the crackdown authorities said is aimed at boosting security.

IRNA reported the seized cars, which police can hold for up to three months, were put on display in Tehran’s uptown Andarzgoo Boulevard, a popular cruising route for urban youths in the evenings.

Pictures carried by Borna news agency, an IRNA offshoot, showed cars parked along a Tehran street with placards on their tops that said: “Combating harassment of women.”

Drivers, including women, appeared to be haggling with police.

“They caught me with my girlfriend in the car. They seized the car and my drivers’ license,” a young man who asked not to be named said.

“Yes, the music was a bit too loud, but that’s all,” said the man whose Peugeot 206 was taken away on Saturday.

Summer-time crackdowns on what the authorities perceive as un-Islamic behavior and attire are common in Iran.

Youths, especially women, have faced tougher moral policing under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s rule since 2005.

Thousands of women were arrested and warned about wearing figure-hugging short coats and flimsy headscarves in the streets of cities in defiance of the law which requires modest dressing.

The police also targeted young men sporting tight, low-slung jeans and funky hairdos.

Government critics have slammed the practice and Ahmadinejad’s opponents in the June 2009 election largely banked on it, vowing to get rid of the vice squad.

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