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Students arrested last year for dancing to Pharrell's "Happy"via Youtube

Iran students given 99 lashes for mixed gender grad party

The raid is the latest in a string of arrests and harsh punishments doled out by the country's morality police

Over 30 Iranian students are said to have been arrested and given 99 lashes for attending a mixed gender graduation party.

According to Mizran, an Iran news agency, police raided the party in Qazvin, which is around 90 miles outside of the capital city, Tehran.

Ismaeil Sadeqi Niaraki, a city prosecutor and mullah, told Mizran about the raid. He said: “After we received information that a large number of men and women were mingling in a villa in the suburbs of Qazvin, all the participants at the party were arrested.”

Niaraki reported women were “half naked” – which probably means they weren’t wearing headscarves or traditional Islamic clothing – and were found “dancing and jubliating”.

Mixed gender events are completely restricted by law in Iran. Mr Niaraki said the incident, “once again required a firm response by the judiciary in quickly reviewing and implementing the law”. 

“We hope this will be a lesson for those who break Islamic norms in private places,” Niaraki affirmed, pointing out that their actions could affect their education and “future employment”. Opposition group the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) reported that Niaraki asserted that prosecutors in the city wouldn’t abide “lawbreakers who use excuses such as freedom and having fun in birthday parties and graduation ceremonies”.

The lashings are the latest punishments handed out by ‘morality police’ in Iran, after police chief Hossein Sajedinia announced the deployment of over 7,000 undercover officers in the capital to enforce modesty laws. A 1979 law forbids women from showing their hair in public.

Earlier this month, eight people were arrested for their involvement in online modelling, via Instagram, without headscarves. Last year, students who recorded a video of themselves dancing and miming to the Pharrell song “Happy” received suspended sentences and 91 lashes.