The young party goers had gathered on Thursday night to celebrate the traditional Yalda festival, on the eve of the the winter’s first day.
The raids took place after many participants live-streamed the parties and posted images on Instagram calling others to join, alerting the authorities.
“When the police arrived, there were mixed groups of people dancing and stomping their feet while drinking alcohol,” said the Anti-Vice Police chief Colonel Zolfaghar Barfar to the semi-official news agency Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA).
“The singers hired for the parties were arrested and taken to the Morality Security Police station with their confiscated equipment,” added Bafar.
Furthermore, the police also claimed to have seized psychotropic drugs along with alcoholic beverages from the parties.
Under Iranian Penal Code, the detainees could face punishments such as fines, lashes or jail terms for holding parties in a private place with “unrelated members of the opposite sex.” They can also be prosecuted for the illicit consumption or possession of alcohol, which have been banned in Iran since the Islamic revolution of 1979.
Breaking up private parties is quite common in the Islamic Republic backed with its notorious vice squad or morality police, a branch of the security forces co-directed by the Revolutionary Guards and the Interior Ministry. However, the scale of the latest arrests remain unprecedented.
According to the ISNA news agency, Iranian Police have already closed 20 grocery stores for selling alcoholic beverages and arrested their managers, adding that the majority of alcohol consumed in Iran is smuggled in through Kurdistan and Turkey or locally produced and sold in bottles of an Iranian brand of non-alcoholic beer.
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