Iran's state television has banned programs featuring provocative love stories or shirtless men in an apparent bow to hard-line Muslim clerics complaining about such scenes in foreign movies, Iranian newspapers reported Tuesday.
Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iranian TV and movie productions have avoided scenes showing the close mixing of the genders, which is discouraged in Iran. Iranian actresses in domestic productions also appear in Islamic dress that covers them from head to toe.
Through illegal satellite dishes, however, many Iranians are able to see foreign TV shows and movies. And some clerics also complain about programs on state TV that show men and women working together in the same offices or otherwise mingling or romantically involved, as well as makeup worn by Iranian actresses in domestic productions.
Reports by several Iranian dailies, including Tehran-e Emrouz, said the state broadcasting company banned such programming on state channels. The ban included specific mentions of "half-naked men" and provocative romantic tales such as "love triangles."
It also appealed to Iranian producers to avoid images of the sexes mixing at "wedding ceremonies, family parties, work places and celebrations."
Pouria Alemi, a satirist for the pro-reform Etemaad daily, ridiculed the decision in a column Tuesday, noting that state channels currently do not show such scenes anyway and wondering if the measure should instead be aimed at Hollywood.
The only half-naked men on Iranian TV are in wrestling and swimming competitions, he wrote.
Iranian TVs do not broadcast women's sporting events in which athletes' heads and bodies are not covered, such as swimming.