Barbers warned against Western haircuts

TEHRAN Mon Apr 30, 2007 8:38am EDT

A man gets a haircut inside a hairdressing salon in Quezon city, suburban Manila, in this August 25, 2006 file photo. Iranian police have warned barbers against offering Western-style hair cuts or plucking the eyebrows of their male customers, Iranian media said on Sunday. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

A man gets a haircut inside a hairdressing salon in Quezon city, suburban Manila, in this August 25, 2006 file photo. Iranian police have warned barbers against offering Western-style hair cuts or plucking the eyebrows of their male customers, Iranian media said on Sunday.

Credit: Reuters/Romeo Ranoco

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TEHRAN (Reuters Life!) - Iranian police have warned barbers against offering Western-style hair cuts or plucking the eyebrows of their male customers, Iranian media said on Sunday.

The report by a reformist daily, later confirmed by an Iranian news agency, appeared to be another sign of the authorities cracking down on clothing and other fashion deemed to be against Islamic values.

"Western hair styles ... have been banned," the newspaper Etemad said in a frontpage headline.

It came a week after police launched a crackdown against the growing numbers of young women testing the limits of the law with shorter, brighter and skimpier clothing ahead of the summer months.

Under Iran's Islamic Sharia law, imposed after the 1979 revolution, women are obliged to cover their hair and wear long, loose-fitting clothes to disguise their figures.

Violators can receive lashes, fines and imprisonment.

The student news agency ISNA quoted a police statement as saying: "In an official order to barber shops, they have been warned to avoid using Western hair styles and doing men's eyebrows."

Iranian young men have in recent years started paying more attention to the way they look and dress, especially in affluent parts of the capital Tehran. Spiked up hair, by using gel, is known as the Khorusi (Rooster) style and some also use make-up.

Several hairdressers for men in Tehran offer cuts in the style of Hollywood movie stars and other Western celebrities. Clients can also have their eyebrows plucked.

The head of the barbers' union, Mohammad Eftekharifard, said police had instructed it to "exercise specific regulations in barber shops that work under its supervision."

Barbers who do not follow these rules might be closed down for a month and even lose their permits to operate, Etemad quoted him as saying.

"Currently some barber shops apply make-up and use (hair) styles that are in line with those in European countries and America," Eftekharifard said.

He added: "An official order has been sent to the union ... not to apply make-up on men's faces (or) do eyebrows ... and hence the barbers are not allowed to do these things."

Since hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won the presidency in 2005 promising a return to the values of the revolution, hardliners have pressed for tighter controls on what they consider immoral behavior.

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