Undercover morality police will be engaged in Gilan-Iran for the “establishment of a more spiritual atmosphere in the province’s beaches and preservation of moral values” under a new plan called “Pure Gilan”, officials of the northern Iranian province announced.
Provincial security officials say in addition to both regular and undercover police, roads will also be consistently patrolled to confront “inappropriate behaviour” adding that the actions are part of the larger plan for “Healthy Beaches”.
The Healthy Beaches plan was introduced after the Islamic revolution of 1979 with aim of creating gender-segregated water fronts. The women are separated from men. If women want to swim or play, they are forced to go to a separate beach which is segregated by tent-like structures.
The so called “Healthy Beaches” project takes effects each summer in the shores of the Caspian Sea in northern Iran which is one of the most popular domestic tourist destinations in the country.
It is mainly aimed at preventing women from swimming and using any part of the beach save the limited areas allocated for them. Each year the police use new methods of enforcing their restriction on women. These allocated areas are limited for women and families are forced to go to only certain beaches that segregation has been made possible.
This year head of Gilan security forces told Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA) that they will be working in unison with the Revolutionary Guards in the “Healthy Beaches” project adding that “the Basij [plain cloth militia] will be assisting the police in establishing optimal security in the beaches.” The Basij is the militia branch of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
The police have also called on ordinary citizens to support the plan and prevent “the province and its Islamic values from being compromised by its detractors.”
Since moderate president Hassan Rohani won the elections under a platform of greater social liberties for citizens, Iran’s conservative factions have further dug their heels over enforcement of strict social regulations such as hijab (Islamic dress code in public specifically for women to cover their hair). In early spring the police announced that it will engage Basij and volunteer forces in the cities as undercover patrols to inform the police of hijab violations in public.
President Hassan Rohani has challenged the plan, and his adviser on women and family issues, Shaindokht Molaverdi was quoted as saying that families are highly concerned about the adverse effects of the so-called undercover patrols.
The police have dismissed the opposition saying the public has in fact been asking for the deployment of the undercover patrols. Now it appears that the undercover informers are also patrolling the Caspian Sea shorelines.