Middle East

Iranian couple arrested over public marriage proposal

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An Iranian couple have been arrested after they got engaged in front of a cheering crowd at a shopping centre.

Video of the public proposal in the northern city of Arak was shared on social media and shows the pair standing in a ring of rose petals.

After the woman says yes, she can be seen hugging her partner as the crowd celebrates.

But they were soon arrested after police said they had contravened Islamic principles.

Mixing between the genders and displays of public affection are severely restricted under Iran's Islamic laws.

Mahmoud Khalaji, the deputy police commander of Markazi province, told Iran's Fars news agency that the couple had been taken into custody due to the "public's demand".

He said they were detained for "outraging public decency, which is an influence of the degenerate Western culture".

Mr Khalaji added that they had been released on bail.

The incident has sparked a debate on social media about the public proposal and Iran's wider social restrictions.

"Poor guys, instead of celebrating they have to bail themselves out while crying!", one Twitter user wrote.

"It's ridiculous and meant for the cameras," another said. "Why make a spectacle of a very personal thing such as marriage?"

It is not the first time Iran's laws on public decency have received international attention.

Last year, an official was arrested after people were filmed dancing at an event in a shopping centre in the city of Mashhad.

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