Women in Iran are being banned from watching live public screenings of Euro 2012 football games because of an "inappropriate" environment where men could become rowdy, a deputy police commander said Sunday.
"It is an inappropriate situation when men and women watch football in (movie) theatres together," said Bahman Kargar, Iran's deputy police commander in charge of social affairs, according to the ISNA news agency.
"Men, while watching football, get excited and sometimes utter vulgar curses or tell dirty jokes," he said. "It is not within the dignity of women to watch football with men. Women should thank the police" for the ban.
The Euro 2012 games underway in Poland and Ukraine are being aired on state television in football-mad Iran.
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They are also being shown in movie theatres as a continuation of a practice that became popular for couples and families during the 2010 World Cup and the 2011 AFC Asian Cup.
Many among Iran's hardline authorities and clerics favour segregation of the sexes and find the mingling of unrelated men and women to be corrupting.
Women have to use women-only swimming pools, beaches and parks across the Islamic republic. Women can travel in the back of public buses, or use women-only taxi cabs or cars on the metro.
All school classes, as well as some in universities, are segregated in Iran.
Women are also required by law to observe an Islamic dress code, with those improperly wearing their mandatory headscarves or dressed in "vulgar" attires being confronted by Iran's so-called morality police.