In Iran, the stamp of Islam is everywhere. Some do's and don'ts in the Islamic Republic
Since Iran's revolution in 1979, the regime has instituted sweeping changes to make Iranian society more Islamic. Some areas that are regulated in accordance with Ayatollah Khomeini's teachings: Sports. Participatory sports are discouraged and there are few spectator sports. According to the head of the Physical Education Department, sports are not needed in the Islamic Republic, especially for women who get enough exercise running a household. Swimming, recommended by Ayatollah Khomeini, is allowed as long as men and women are separated and the women wear a special ``swimming chador.'' A rare weightlifting competition on TV opened with a prayer by a turbaned cleric a nd was performed under a large picture of Ayatollah Khomeini.
Alcohol. Consumption is forbidden by the Koran.
Friday, the Islamic holy day. All businesses are shut, in marked contrast to the Shah's time, when even on Fridays bazaars and cinemas were open.
Undergraduate study abroad. High school graduates may no longer go to foreign countries for college. It is considered that the Western cultural influence they bring back harms the country. Graduate students may still go overseas, but Iran is planning to expand the capacity of universities so that this will not be necessary, said a regime official.
Travel abroad. A previous ban on taking more than one overseas trip per year was lifted this year, but Iranians are still allowed to take only $500 out of the country. They are also not allowed to take Persian carpets out of Iran.
Western publications. Those showing unveiled women are forbidden. No fashion magazines are allowed into the country, and magazines like Time and Newsweek are usually for sale only on the black market or in censored versions. The Economist, a British newsmagazine, is found in some bookstores.
Music. Western music is frowned upon, though classical music is sometimes heard. Most acceptable are Koranic recitations or lively revolutionary songs urging patriots to go to the warfront as their religious duty.
Cosmetics. Makeup is prohibited, including perfume. Long fingernails are frowned upon; they are considered unsanitary for eating with the hands. At least one young woman was given an unwelcome manicure by a vigilant Revolutionary Guard.
Clothing. Women must wear either a chador (the head-to-toe veil), usually in black or a small paisley print, or a manteau (a loose smock worn over pants, from the French word for coat) with a scarf on the head. Usually the manteau outfit is blue or some other dark color. Some women try to add a little spice with gold-threaded or designer scarves and high heels. An occasional nonconformist might appear in orange or yellow. Women must wear socks and cover their arms above the wrist.
Men cannot wear short sleeves or T-shirts and should button the tops of their shirts. Ties, regarded as a Western accouterment, are strongly discouraged in government offices. Government officials set the style with suit jackets over shirts buttoned at the collar.
So popular as to be a virtual uniform for young men are green Army jackets, giving a revolutionary mystique, particularly when worn with a beard. The Revolutionary Guards wear these jackets in a brighter green color.