According to a newly passed bill, anyone caught walking, petting or housing a dog in Iran will be forced to pay up to 100 million rials – that is $3,757.
Thirty-two members of the Iranian parliament signed the law.
"Anyone who walks or plays with animals such as dogs or monkeys in public places will damage Islamic culture, as well as the hygiene and peace of others, especially women and children," the bill declares.
Fortunately, the law doesn’t apply to the police, farmers and hunters.
Dogs are considered dirty in Iran. The country put restrictions on keeping dogs as pets, saying dog owners were "blindly imitating the West."
Keeping dogs as pets is generally frowned upon in the Islamic culture. However, as explained by Islamic Concern, a site dedicated to animal welfare, "It is NOT Haram [wrong] to touch a dog or any other animal. If the saliva of a dog touches you or any part of your clothing, then it is required of you to wash the body part touched and the item of clothing touched by the dog's mouth or snout.”
They go on to add, however, that "it is haram to keep a dog or any other animal on a short lead for long periods without food, water, and shelter."
Not long ago, Iranian director Jafar Panahi defied a 20-year ban on making films by secretly co-directing a movie called Closed Curtain, portraying how restrictions on his work and movement brought on depression and even thoughts of suicide. The movie shows a man living with his pet dog in a house by the beach. He has had to draw curtains and blacken out windows to keep himself away from the prying eyes.
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A scene from the movie shows a news report with footage of stray dogs being rounded up and killed, explaining the man’s obsession with privacy.
From censoring information on the Internet to banning women from watching football in public and studying to be engineers to declaring vasectomies illegal and crushing people’s freedom of speech, Iran is definitely not the most open or tolerant of countries.
Although things have changed somewhat under the current President Hassan Rouhani, the people of Iran still suffer a lack of freedom. As far as basic human rights are concerned, there has been some progress but people still struggle and fight.
Rouhani has failed to fulfill campaign promises to allow greater freedom of expression and there has been a sharp rise in executions since his election.
In a report to the U.N. Human Rights Council, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon noted, "The new administration has not made any significant improvement in the promotion and protection of freedom of expression and opinion, despite pledges made by the president during his campaign and after his swearing in."