An Iranian couple was arrested after the man publicly proposed to marry his girlfriend at a shopping mall in Arak, in the country’s capital Tehran. A clip of the romantic act was posted on social media, which went viral over the weekend.
Although it is not known when the incident took place, the clip began spreading on social media Friday. In the half-minute clip, a man and a woman are seen standing inside a heart-shaped ring on a mall floor, made of flower petals. After the man whipped out a ring, the blushing woman mouthed “yes” and the man slipped the ring over her finger. The acceptance of the proposal was met by loud cheers from the crowd, who had gathered around the couple.
The happy couple were seen embracing each other and holding hands as others onlookers proceeded to clap and burst colorful balloons in celebration. Neither the man nor the woman were identified by authorities.
The pair were arrested by the police because their public display of affection is reportedly offensive to Islamic religion and against the decency laws in the country. Both of them were released later on bail.
Islam holds conservative views when it comes to public displays of affection. The religion preaches a husband and wife to observe their love for each other in privacy and not in public places, including in front of their children. Iran views all forms of PDAs are seen as the influence of a corrupt Western culture that is not tolerated in the country.
Arak deputy police chief Mostafa Norouzi later told local news outlets that the couple’s “offense is very clear and there is no need for explanation,” adding that it was not acceptable for them “to do whatever is common in other places of the world and disregard mores, culture and religion.”
Norouzi’s opinion was echoed by hardline Fars news agency, which termed the act “shameful” and demanded “harsh” punishment for the couple to prevent any such displays from being repeated by others in the future. Lawyer Isa Amini, head of the Tehran Bar Association, on the other hand, condemned the arrest, stating that there were no grounds for such action as the couple had not done anything wrong, the Guardian reported.
This was not the first time social media has led to the arrest of Iranians who went against the cultural norms of the country. Last year, 18-year-old Maedeh Hojabri was arrested after she posted videos of her dancing to Persian and Western music in her room on Instagram, which were viewed millions of times. The outrage over her dance videos forced the teenager to go on national television and issue a statement saying she did not encourage “other people to do the same thing”. “It was not done for the purpose of getting attention,” she added.