The trend of water fights in the Islamic republic has been “orchestrated from abroad,” Iran’s prosecutor general said on Monday, referring to confessions of people arrested.
“This is not simply a game with water. This is a campaign which is being orchestrated from abroad,” Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie told a press conference, ISNA news agency reported.
“Some of those arrested have admitted that they were deceived, with some saying they had responded to calls by anti-revolutionary” groups, he added.
The remarks came a day after deputy police chief Ahmad Reza Radan said “a handful of people” who tried to take part in water fights at a park in central Tehran were arrested last Friday.
Water fights by young Iranians — using balloons, plastic guns and water bottles — have angered the Islamic regime, which is wary of unofficial gatherings, particularly in large cities, over fears they could ignite demonstrations.
In late July, 10 arrests were made after pictures surfaced of boys and girls in drenched clothing — some of the women with their mandatory hijab head coverings askew — at a huge water fight in sweltering Tehran.
On Monday, Mohseni Ejeie said water fighting was not a crime in itself but only when “people use it to commit acts against religion and disrupt public security … particularly when there is a foreign orchestrator.”
Water fights are believed to be organised by text message or calls on Facebook, widely used by the reformist opposition to organise mass protests following the controversial 2009 re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Morality police chief General Ahmad Rouzbahani warned in early August that the police would act forcefully against such events “in public places, or anywhere throughout the country.”
In early August, 17 boys and girls were arrested over a water fight at a seaside park in the southern city of Bandar Abbas, after taking part in what the provincial justice chief said was an act that was “haram,” banned by Islam.