Even As Iran Opens Up, Authorities Clamp Down On Music And Drugs

TEHRAN â€" Iran's Islamic Republic has sought to control morals and public conduct for some 40 years now, and the apparent détente with Western powers won't be changing anything on this front.

Take its ongoing antipathy toward Western â€" or some would say, virtually all â€" music. For Iran's clerics, music and related festivities are often considered a moral distraction and a prelude to lewdness.

A senior policemen warned this week that authorities would act against any school buses or taxis playing music while transporting children to school, the reformist daily Arman-e Emruz reported. Jabbar Esfandiari, the deputy traffic police chief for the western province of Ilam, said parents had complained that "moral norms were being flouted" on some school buses. The ban extends nationwide, though it is not clear how effectively it can be enforced.

Meanwhile, Arman-e Emruz has also reported this week that Hossein Hashemi, the governor of the Tehran province, has voiced concerns over drugs. The governor declared that the capital and its surroundings had some 15,000 drug addicts on the streets, who were increasingly taking drugs in public and enjoying "nighttime parties" in Tehran's parks.

Hashemi told a seminar in Tehran that "many dangerous addicts are loose on the streets and there are reports of their gathering around midnight in parks and by roadsides and sidewalks to take drugs."

Parties, drugs and alcohol use are forbidden in Iran. The daily cited police in Tehran as saying that it was of no use arresting these addicts, as rehabilitation facilities were insufficient and they would be back on the street within days. Western problems indeed.

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A Mother In Spain Denied Child Custody Because She Lives In Rural Area

A court in Spain usurps custody of the one-year-old boy living with his mother in the "deep" part of the Galicia region, forced to instead live with his father in the southern city of Marbella, which the judge says is "cosmopolitan" with good schools and medical care. Women's rights groups have taken up the mother's case.

A child in Galician countryside

Laure Gautherin

A Spanish court has ordered the withdrawal of a mother's custody of her one-year-old boy because she is living in the countryside in northwestern Spain, where the judge says the child won't have "opportunities for the proper development of his personality."

The case, reported Monday in La Voz de Galicia, has sparked outrage from a women's rights association but has also set off reactions from politicians of different stripes across the province of Galicia, defending the values of rural life.

Judge María Belén Ureña Carazo, of the family court of Marbella, a city on the southern coast of 141,000 people, has ordered the toddler to stay with father who lives in the city rather than with his mother because she was living in "deep Galicia" where the child would lack opportunities to "grow up in a happy environment."

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - October 25, 2021

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - Monday 25 October, 2021

La Voz de Galicia

Better in a "cosmopolitan" city?

The judge said Marbella, where the father lives, was a "cosmopolitan city" with "a good hospital" as well as "all kinds of schools" and thus provided a better environment for the child to thrive.

The mother has submitted a formal complaint to the General Council of the Judiciary that the family court magistrate had acted with "absolute contempt," her lawyer told La Voz de Galicia.

The mother quickly accumulated support from local politicians and civic organizations. The Clara Campoamor association described the judge's arguments as offensive, intolerable and typical of "an ignorant person who has not traveled much."

The Xunta de Galicia, the regional government, has addressed the case, saying that any place in Galicia meets the conditions to educate a minor. The Socialist party politician Pablo Arangüena tweeted that "it would not hurt part of the judiciary to spend a summer in Galicia."

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