Only married men can open web cafes in Iran

The American Islamic Congress reveals details of the utterly absurd situation in Iran. It would be almost funny except we’re talking about people lives and freedom:

Surveillance cameras? Check. Transparent glass? Check. Segregated seating? Check. If you want to open an Internet cafe in Mashhad – the hometown of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei – you had better keep up with the new regulations. The CRIME Report’s Iran correspondents point to the bizarre new requirements governing Mashhadi Net cafes:

  • The manager must be at least 30 years old – and married.
  • Surveillance cameras must be installed throughout the store.
  • The store must be at street-level.
  • The store must not be near any female educational facilities.
  • The exterior of the store must be made from the un-tinted, completely transparent (literally, “aquarium-like”) glass.
  • Installing any blinds or posters that hinder visibility of interior from outside is illegal.
  • People from the opposite sex are banned from sitting next to one another (even if they are “mahram,” i.e., close relatives).
  • Giving the cafe a foreign name is illegal. Owners are advised to consult with the local authorities for choosing a suitable name.
  • Owners must thoroughly record the ID of every customer.
  • These records should be kept at least for 6 months. Video recording should be kept for at least two months.

Our correspondents note: “The requirements for opening a Net cafe are not much different in other Iranian cities. Their main function is to act as constraints to the undesirable growth of the new technology in the country. Laying the grounds for arbitrary crackdowns on the existing IT businesses is another goal they intend to pursue. So you see, these requirements are not as stupid as they seem.”