Iran Cracks Down on the 'Un-Islamic'

Fear of regime change drives new policing of women's dress, media
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 20, 2007 1:09 PM CST
Iranian students chant slogans as they attend a demonstration at Tehran University in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2007. Hundreds of Iranian students angry over a crackdown on activists protested Sunday...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Iran is engaged in its most serious crackdown on "un-Islamic" behavior in years, the Christian Science Monitor reports, with masked police rounding up and humiliating everyone from drug dealers to immodestly dressed women. But the impulse for the crackdown isn't Islamic conservatism, the paper concludes; it's a fear of American-sponsored regime change.

Even after hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to power in 2005, policing of social behavior was lax by Iranian standards. But in recent months the government has shuttered Internet cafes and gone after dress-code violators with a vengeance that recalls the early days of the revolution. More than a military invasion, the Monitor concludes, Tehran fears an uprising of 'Westoxicated' youth that could topple the regime.