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Iran Bans Dancer From Teaching

July 8, 2002

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) _ A Tehran court has sentenced the country’s best-known male dancer to a 10-year suspended jail term for promoting corruption among young people by setting up dance classes in the United States, newspapers reported Monday.

The sentence, handed down Sunday, bans Mohammad Khordadian from leaving Iran for 10 years, giving dance classes for life and attending public celebrations or wedding ceremonies of people who are not close relatives for three years, according to Iran daily.

Khordadian lives and performs in Los Angeles, but was jailed in May during a visit to Iran. His dance programs are widely watched by Iranian expatriates and many inside Iran on Los Angeles-based, Persian-language satellite television channels.

Khordadian told the court he had done nothing wrong. He was released from Tehran’s Evin prison late Sunday. The 10-year suspended jail term will be enforced if he is again found guilty by the court.

``Dancing was my job and I had no intention of promoting corruption among the youth,″ Iran quoted Khordadian as saying.

Sweeping social restrictions imposed after the 1979 Islamic revolution have been gradually eased since the election of reformist President Mohammad Khatami in May 1997. But women must still wear headscarves and the mingling of unrelated men and women is frowned upon.

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