Iran is set to introduce lessons in sexual chastity and abstinence into the school curriculum as early as kindergarten, albawaba.com reports. The effort is aimed at instilling in the young people a deeper connection to Islam.
Chastity won't be the only lessons taught early. Kindergarteners will also be taught the importance of modest dress including the wearing of the head covering known as the hijab. Governor of Tehran Morteza Tamadon said these steps are necessary to make sure that young people embrace Muslim values when they grow up.
"We cannot expect to see hijab and chastity exist in society without proper cultural work," he said. "Our goal in the social transformation plan devised by the government is institutionalizing chastity and hijab as a natural [demand] in society," he said.
The move is just the latest in the direction if more strict enforcement of the religious measures, including a more prominent role for the country's Moral Police and the department of the Revolutionary Guard charged with making sure hat social mores are being adhered to. Just recently, a number of women were warned or even arrested for going out without a headscarf or being dressed inappropriately signally that the so-called modesty laws will now be adhered to more strictly.
As for a program targeting toddlers, the welfare office of the Iranian city of Qom is reportedly "training 400 experts on hijab and chastity who will be sent to kindergartens across the city," according to the Guardian.
The report added that 1,530 kindergartens under the jurisdiction of a north-eastern province have already held "chastity and hijab exhibitions" in recent months.
"Research has found that indirect methods have more effect on kids," welfare officer Tahereh Bakhtiyari said in comments to the newspaper. "Using art expression is one of these methods."
The enforcement actions are set to pick up even more in the coming months. Members of the morality police usually increase the pace of warnings and arrests during the spring and summer, when the temptation to dress down in order to deal with the heat is more acute. These efforts seemed to have gained favor and have been mirrored by at least some of the populace as "modesty squads" hand out flowers and praise women who continue to dress in accordance with Islamic laws in warm weather.
According to Iranian police Chief Ismael Ahmadi Moqadam last June, Iran now wants to intensify its struggle against women who it believes dress in an un-Islamic way.
But some critics had branded the rose "gifts" to modestly dressed women as patronizing.