Iranian couple arrested after marriage proposal in public

TEHRAN, Iran — A young Iranian couple have been arrested after a marriage proposal in public that was captured on a video clip that went viral on social media. The police say the pair offended Islamic mores on public decency but were later released on bail.

The video, which spread on social media last Friday, shows the young man standing in a heart-shaped ring of flower petals next to colorful balloons in a mall in the central Iranian city of Arak.

He proposes, and fter the young woman says "yes," he slips a ring on her finger to cheers from a crowd of onlookers. The two were not identified.

Mostafa Norouzi, deputy police chief in Arak, told the Shahrvand daily that it is unacceptable for the young "to do whatever is common in other places of the world and disregard mores, culture and religion" in Iran.

The pair's "offense is very clear and there is no need for explanation" about the reason for their arrest, Norouzi added.

Lawyer Isa Amini, head of the Tehran Bar Association, criticized the arrest and said he could not understand what the grounds were for such an action since the couple did not commit any wrongdoing.

However, the semi-official and hard-line Fars news agency called the public proposal "shameful" and claimed it could promote "immorality." The agency demanded "harsh" punishment to stop such displays from being repeated by others.

Iranian hard-liners perceive public displays of affection as result of allegedly corrupt influence of Western culture that threatens morals in this conservative Islamic society. The Islamic Republic's strict rules forbid gender mixing in public.

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