Iran bans flights during call to Islamic prayer

DUBAI Wed Dec 26, 2012 6:04am EST

An Iranian Aseman Airlines' Fokker 100 takes off as an Iran Air aircraft is seen in the foreground at Tehran's international airport August 6, 2007. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl

An Iranian Aseman Airlines' Fokker 100 takes off as an Iran Air aircraft is seen in the foreground at Tehran's international airport August 6, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran's parliament has banned on airplanes from flying in the country during the Azan call to Islamic prayer, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported on Wednesday.

"According to the new directive, airplanes are banned from flying during Azan, especially during the call to morning prayers," Mehr quoted the spokesman for parliament's cultural committee Ali Taheri as saying.

The head of the Aviation Organization, Hamid Reza Pahlevani, said aircraft will be allowed to take off 30 minutes after the call to the morning prayer so that passengers have the time "to carry out their religious duties", the Iranian Students' News Agency ISNA.L reported.

Iran has practiced Sharia law since its 1979 Islamic revolution. Hardliners have pressed for stricter enforcement of religious measures since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won office in 2005 promising a return to the revolution's values.

Taheri also said serious attention will be given to observing the strict Islamic dress code for women working at airports or airline companies.

Women in Iran are obliged to cover their hair and wear long, loose clothing to disguise their figures and protect their modesty. Violators can be flogged, fined or imprisoned. (Reporting by Zahra Hosseinian; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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