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posted January 04, 2001 10:25     Click Here to See the Profile for Vatandoost   Click Here to Email Vatandoost     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Police arrested and jailed 262 people, including some foreigners, for showing up in ``indecent'' clothes at a private New Year's party, a newspaper reported Wednesday.

The Dowran-e-Emrouz newspaper reported that those arrested included two Arab diplomats, two Britons and two Indians.

Jahanbakhsh Khanjani, an Interior Ministry official, was quoted by the paper as saying that those attending the party were arrested because of ``indecent appearance.'' Khanjani also said all but 40 were quickly released. He did not elaborate.

In Iran, which imposes strict interpretations of Islamic laws, women are supposed to wear clothes that only shows their faces and hands. But after the 1997 election of reformist President Mohammad Khatami, many women started appearing in public with makeup and loose head scarfs showing some hair. Such arrests have been uncommon in Iran since then, and no such sweeps have been reported on recent New Year's eves.

Repeated calls to police by The Associated Press on Wednesday went unanswered. Diplomats at the British and Indian embassies in Tehran said they have no knowledge of their nationals being arrested but that they are
following the newspaper's report.

New Year's is generally seen as a Christian and Western holiday in Iran and celebrated by only a few in private gatherings. It was not clear who threw the party.

The paper said the arrests were made by the hard-line-controlled police on Sunday night. It said some 200 relatives of the detainees gathered Tuesday night in front of police headquarters to demand their release. Police
later dispersed the protesters.

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