Iran shuts down indoor water park, citing headscarf mandate violations

Massive complex closed by authorities for ‘ignoring chastity and hjiab’ rules, according to local media

Iranian women attend a pro-hijab rally in Tehran on July 12, 2023. (ATTA KENARE / AFP)
Iranian women attend a pro-hijab rally in Tehran on July 12, 2023. (ATTA KENARE / AFP)

TEHRAN — Iran has shuttered a water park for allowing women entry without the mandatory headscarf, local media reported on Monday.

The closure is part of stepped-up measures by authorities over the past few months against women and businesses who fail to observe the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code.

“The Mojhaye Khoroushan water park has been closed” since Sunday evening, Fars news agency quoted the complex manager Mohammad Babaei as saying. Babaei said authorities have declared the park’s closure due to people’s “ignoring chastity and hjiab” rules.

Covering the head and the neck has been compulsory for women in Iran since 1983, following the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Babaei insisted that the park has “adhered to the law” and regularly warned female visitors to respect the hijab rules. Around 1,000 people working at the park are worried about losing their jobs, Babaei told Fars.

The Mojhaye Khoroushan complex — which spans 60,000 square meters (more than 70,000 square yards) — is among the largest indoor water parks in the world.

It sits on the outskirts of the northeastern holy city of Mashhad, home to the shrine of the eighth Imam of Shiite Islam.

Women in Iran have increasingly flouted the dress code since mass protests triggered by the September 16 death in police custody last year of a 22-year-old woman.

Mahsa Amini, an Iranian Kurd, was arrested for allegedly breaching the dress rules.

As part of efforts to enforce the ban over the past few months, businesses have been closed when they do not adhere to the rules, and cameras have been installed in public places to monitor violations.

In July, state media reported increased police patrols aimed at catching those ignoring the law.

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