Iran bans flights during call to Islamic prayer-report

DUBAI, Dec 26 (Reuters) - Iran's parliament has banned on

airplanes from flying in the country during the Azan call to

Islamic prayer, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported on

Wednesday.

"According to the new directive, airplanes are banned from

flying during Azan, especially during the call to morning

prayers," Mehr quoted the spokesman for parliament's cultural

committee Ali Taheri as saying.

The head of the Aviation Organization, Hamid Reza Pahlevani,

said aircraft will be allowed to take off 30 minutes after the

call to the morning prayer so that passengers have the time "to

carry out their religious duties", the Iranian Students' News

Agency (ISNA) reported.

Iran has practiced Sharia law since its 1979 Islamic

revolution. Hardliners have pressed for stricter enforcement of

religious measures since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won

office in 2005 promising a return to the revolution's values.

Taheri also said serious attention will be given to

observing the strict Islamic dress code for women working at

airports or airline companies.

Women in Iran are obliged to cover their hair and wear long,

loose clothing to disguise their figures and protect their

modesty. Violators can be flogged, fined or imprisoned.

(Reporting by Zahra Hosseinian; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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