Iranian Police Detain 230 Young People for Dancing at Parties in Tehran

Iranian police watch as female supporters of Iranian presidential candidate and lead nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili hold up his image during a campaign rally along Valiasr Street in the Iranian capital Tehran, on June 9, 2013. AFP PHOTO/ATTA KENARE (Photo credit should read ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)
ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images

Iranian police raided two large parties in Tehran and arrested 230 people for drinking and dancing on Thursday night.

“Drinking alcohol and mixed parties of unrelated men and women are illegal and considered a sin under Islamic law in Iran,” explains the Associated Press, which notes that some “psychotropic drugs” were confiscated along with alcohol from the parties.

Iran has been battling a massive drug problem, particularly with opium imported from Afghanistan. Young, educated women are among the fastest-growing demographic of drug abusers. Iranian youth are said to have become very adept at throwing underground parties where drugs and alcohol can be consumed. They have even developed a smartphone app that helps them avoid the Ershad morality police, using crowdsourced data to track the movement of police vehicles and issue alerts.

In this case, the partygoers made the crucial mistake of posting invitations to the parties on Instagram and streaming live video of the events, alerting the authorities. The parties were held on the occasion of the winter solstice and shortest day of the year, which is a traditional holiday known as “Yalda” in Iran.

The individuals detained for illicit drinking and dancing could theoretically be put to death under Iranian law, but they are more likely to face punishments such as fines, jail terms, or lashes.

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