As Valentine’s Day approaches, Iranian authorities are reminding citizens and retailers that the holiday is outlawed and that any sales or promotion of Valentine’s Day-related items are also illegal.
Iranian police warned retailers against “the promotion of Western culture through Valentine’s Day rituals,” according to The Human Rights Activists News Agency, and that the exchange of Valentine’s Day gifts between males and females is also a crime.
Iran’s government is particularly sensitive toward the practice or promotion of Western customs, with increased scrutiny against young Iranians since Iran’s 2009 Green Revolution the uprisings that began with the contested election that put Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in office for a second term.
In January 2011, State media announced that “symbols of hearts, half-hearts, red roses, and any activities promoting this day are banned,” and that “authorities will take action against those who ignore the ban.”
Iran is among a list of Islamic nations that prohibit the celebration of Valentine’s Day including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Indonesia and Malaysia, according to report from the BBC last year.
In Saudi Arabia, blogger Raif Badawi, sentenced to 10 years in prison, was arrested in June 2012 on charges for a number of articles including one about Valentine’s Day.