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First "X-rated" movie in Islamic Iran

June 6,1999
Iran Weekly Press Digest

Iran's Culture Ministry put its first-ever X-rate on a home-made feature movie after the 1979 Islamic revolution, the Tehran daily Entekhab reported Sunday.

The film Massaeb Shirin (Sweet Problems), which deals with the sexual problems of the young generation and suggests the controversial Siqeh (temporary marriage) as alternative, shall only be allowed for people over 18, the daily said.

"The culture ministry discussed the public screening of the film and it was decided that only people over 18 should be allowed to watch the movie," the film's director, Ali-Reza Davudnejad, told the daily.

Referring to the theme of the film, which deals with the economic problems of the Iranian youth for starting a married life, he said that although Siqeh is widely criticised, but it can solve the sexual needs of the youth.

"The sexual needs of the youth should not be ignored Siqeh is a suitable alternative, although widely, but someone who is in some sort of pain needs a tranquilizer and this is some sort of treatment," the director said.

Davudnejad is from the old Iranian film generation who also made commercial movies before the revolution. His latest film has won an award at February's International Fajr Film Festival in Tehran. A former film by the director, Niaz (Need) had also won an award at the same festival.

The X-rate on the film is not for any immoral pictures but for the theme of the film. In Iran, women are obliged to observe the Islamic dressing code, which includes a long gown and scarf for covering body contours and hair. The same regulations are also valid for films and the actors, even in case of a mother and son, are in no way allowed to touch each other.

The economic problems of the youth in Iran made them almost unable to start a married life and relations before marriage, including dating in a public place, is legally forbidden and might lead to arrests, cash fines and even lashing.

For overcoming this dilemma, spirituals and sociologists propose Siqeh, the Persian term for temporary marriage, which is a highly disputed issue in Iran with men welcoming and women detesting it. Siqeh is an old Shiite Islamic custom in Iran in which a woman or a girl can become the wife of a married or single Moslem man after a simple and brief religious ceremony.

The duration of the marriage is determined by the two sides. The Siqeh can last for a night or as little as 30 minutes.

From the religious viewpoint there is no need for official registration but Iranian law requires the couple to be registered in a notary office.

However, the bond is not recorded on identification cards. According to the law, non-virgins do not need permission from their fathers, but virgins must present their father's permission for this purpose./-


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