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Water gun fight in a park? Iran sees dark designs

The AP reports from TEHRAN, Iran:

Iran is trying to put down a new wave of civil disobedience — flash mobs of young people who break into boisterous fights with water guns in public parks. A group of water fighters was arrested over the weekend, and a top judiciary official warned Monday that "counter-revolutionaries" were behind them.

Milad Beheshti / AP

Iranian youths take part in a water fight at the Water and Fire Park in northern Tehran, Iran, in a picture taken on July 29 and made available today. Iran is trying to put down a new wave of civil disobedience - flash mobs of young people who break into boisterous fights with water guns in public parks.

Police swooped in to arrest a number of people who had gathered on Friday in a Tehran park to hold a water fight, the acting commander of Iran's police Gen. Ahmad Radan said, quoted in newspapers on Monday.

Radan said the group had been planning the water fight through the Internet and had "intended to break customs." He vowed police would act to prevent future attempts and that participants would be put on trial.

Milad Beheshti / AP

A group of water fighters was arrested over the weekend, and a top judiciary official warned Monday that "counter-revolutionaries" were behind them. Throughout the summer, Iranian police have been cracking down. Picture taken July 29.

Hard-liners see the water fights as unseemly and immoral, breaking taboos against men and women simply mixing, much less dousing each other with water and playing in the streets.

But authorities see a darker hand as well, worrying that the gatherings could weaken adherence among young people to Iran's cleric-led Islamic rule or even build into outright protests against the ruling system. Iran's leadership has been very wary of any gathering, whatever their nature, since the massive protests against the 2009 re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Read the full story.

Milad Beheshti / AP

In the first incident, in July, hundreds of young men and women held a water fight in Tehran's popular Water and Fire Park, spraying each other with water guns and splattering bottles of water on one another. Police detained dozens of those involved. Picture taken July 29.