Tehran, Jan. 4 (Reuters): Iran has begun training its first women police officers since the 1979 Islamic revolution, the official Irna news agency said today.
Iranian women served as police officers under the pro-Western Shah toppled in the revolution, but since then have been restricted to administrative tasks and conducting body searches on women suspects.
“More than 400 women are to start their activities as second lieutenants in police centres from October,” the agency quoted police training college official Mohtaram Masoudmanesh as saying. “They are the first group of female officers since the Islamic Revolution.”
Iran has slightly eased restrictions on women since the election of pro-reform President Mohammad Khatami in 1997 and most professions are open to women, but strict dress codes remain in place.
Women are required to cover their body in long loose coats and their hair with headscarves. The chador, an all-enveloping, usually black cloth is obligatory in some government offices.
Masoudmanesh said policewomen would not be required to wear the chador and their dress had been designed not to hinder their performance.
“The uniform is long loose coat and pants, but they will have official and formal dress for missions,” the police official said.
Iranian police officials were not immediately available for comment.