FILE PHOTO: A gaming cafe in Iran./KL./

By Kayhan Life Staff

Esmail Rahmani, the deputy prosecutor for Mashhad, capital of the northeastern province of Khorasan, has reportedly banned mixed-sex board games in all gaming cafes all across the city.

A joint statement issued by Mr. Rahmani’s office and by Mashhad’s Trade Union for Cultural Products, Games and Entertainment warned that authorities would shut down any establishment that violates the new city regulation and “hold the owners accountable.”

A tweet on Jan. 28 by a social media user, @linaloleheee, said: “Board game cafes in Mashhad have implemented gender segregation. Alam al-Hoda [Sayed Ahmad Alamolhoda, the Friday Prayer of Mashhad] should segregate the entire city –separating men and women — and get it over with.”

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Morteza Eskafi, the head of the Mashhad’s Trade Union for Cultural Products, Games and Entertainment, has confirmed the new city regulation banning mixed-sex board games in the city’s gaming cafes.

“In 2019, the city transferred the responsibility of monitoring board game cafes to the Trade Union for Cultural Products, Games and Entertainment,” Mr. Eskafi said. “We have held several meetings with cafe owners and game managers and resolved many issues. However, the prosecutor’s office believes that some problems persist.”

Eskafi explained that Esmail Rahmani, the prosecutor for the city’s sixth district, had banned mixed-sex board games in cafes.

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“All board game cafes have either been issued a notice or shut down,” Eskafi noted. “All cafes have pledged to allocate separate time slots to their male and female customers.”

According to Eskafi, 40 gaming cafes in Mashhad are closed now. Another five are canceling their permits.

“The news, pictures, and videos of unlicensed gaming cafes posted on social media have alarmed the deputy prosecutor. They reportedly showed activities he interpreted as promoting [moral] corruption,” Eskafi explained. “The statement by the prosecutor’s office said that girls and boys sitting next to each other would harm public morality. Therefore, this enterprise is haram [forbidden], and the revenue generated from it is also forbidden.”

City officials have reportedly held several meetings with Hadi Shariatdar, Khorasan Razavi’s deputy prosecutor for public rights and crime prevention, and his associates to find a workable solution to this issue.

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