World News

Iran bans "tight jeans", tattoos at some universities

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran has enforced a stricter Islamic dress code at a number of universities including a ban on female students wearing long nails, bright clothes and tattoos, a local news agency reported on Monday.

A group of buxom bottom mannequins are shown at the EckoRed jeans display at Macy's in New York, November 11, 2004. REUTERS/Jeff Christensen

The semi-official Fars news agency published a list of universities around Iran that were given a note outlining the code but did not say on what basis they were selected.

The new rules ban women from “wearing caps or hats without scarves, tight and short jeans, and body piercing”, except earrings, Fars said.

It said tattoos, long nails, tooth gems, tight overcoats, and bright clothes were also banned.

Iran has been waging a country-wide campaign against Western cultural influences. Under Islamic law imposed after the 1979 revolution, women have to cover their hair in public and wear long, loose-fitting clothes.

The new code also bans male students from dying their hair, plucking eyebrows, wearing tight clothes, shirts with “very short sleeves” and jewellery, Fars said.

The authorities usually intensify efforts ahead of hot summer months when women tend to wear lighter clothes and brightly coloured scarves, often pushed back to expose hair.

In recent years crackdowns have extended into winter fashion as well including a push against women’s trousers seen as too tight, as well as men with spiky “Western-style” hairstyles.

Hardliners have pressed for tighter controls on “immoral behaviour” since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took office in 2005 promising a return to the values of the revolution.

Young women, particularly in wealthier urban areas, often challenge limitations by wearing tight clothes and colourful headscarves that barely cover their hair. The rules remain less challenged in poor suburbs and rural regions.

Writing by Ramin Mostafavi, Editing by Zahra Hosseinian and Maria Golovnina