Five-hundred and forty-seven restaurants and cafes in Iran’s capital, Tehran, were raided and sealed during the last week of Ramadan, the city’s police chief has confirmed.
“The owners of restaurants and cafes in which Islamic principles were not observed were confronted, and during this operation 547 businesses were closed and 11 offenders arrested,” Hossein Rahimi said in a statement on police force’s website.
Eleven people were arrested during searches of hundreds of premises.
Cases of alleged debauchery
Among the infractions uncovered by police were “unconventional online marketing of the business, playing illegal music and debauchery,” the Fars news agency reported.
In recent years, thousands of modern cafes and restaurants have sprung up across Tehran, playing Western music and where many women customers forego their headscarves — for which offenders can be arrested and fined.
Radio Farda reported the Tehran restaurant closures were just the tip of the iceberg, citing local media. Iran’s third largest city, Isfahan, also saw 305 restaurants closed, while police operations against eateries took place in several other cities.
In Iran, all restaurants must remain closed during the fasting hours of Ramadan, a rule that some restaurant owners quietly flout, along with the ban on alcohol.
Iran recently stepped up…