Iran could imprison and flog those who opt for “un-Islamic” plastic cosmetic surgery as part of a crackdown on people altering their appearance, a senior MP has said.
Hassan Norowzi, a spokesman for the Iranian parliament’s judicial committee, said surgeons offering procedures including “cats eyes” and “donkey ears” could also be stripped of their licenses.
The bizarre trends are among a number of cosmetic procedures targeted in a new law drafted by the committee in the Majles, Iran’s parliament, according to Mr Norowzi.
Iran has one of the highest rates of rhinoplasty in the world, and an estimated 40,000 people – mostly women – go under the knife every year.
In recent years an increasing number of Iranian men have also sought cosmetic surgery, mostly to change their noses, remove stomach fat, or reshape their eyebrows.
But the country has been rocked by a number of horror-stories about surgeries gone wrong in recent years, including several involving teenagers.
The new regulation announced this week will require potential customers to seek permission from a judge before going under the knife.
“Some of our young people have been overwhelmed with an obsession that they must change their facial appearance. From now on they must go to a family court and obtain a license for a cosmetic surgery beforehand,” Mr Norowzi told Khane Mellat, the Majles new website.
“Otherwise they will be committing a criminal act and offence to the public and will be prosecuted. The fines will vary from 10 days to two months of imprisonment and/or 74 lashes,” he added.
There are around 200 licensed cosmetic surgeons in Tehran. The industry is believed to employ several thousand people, including in many private, unlicensed clinics.
Mohammad Hossein Ghorbani, an MP and member of the Majles Health Committee said: “We must not ignore the social and cultural aspects of the increase in the number of cosmetic surgeries among our young people. They seem to be looking for a new and different identity for themselves in wider society by resorting to these actions”.
Iranian health officials have expressed concern over the fashion for cosmetic surgery.
Dr Mahmood Abbasi, the chairman of the legal department at Iran’s Medical Association, has called for an outright ban on procedures like “cats eyes,” “donkey ears” or implanting colour pigments in eyes.
“Today rhinoplasty is not only a simple cosmetic or mental problem. As time passes it is becoming an epidemic in Iran, wasting a lot of financial and human resources, and it seems hard to stop,” Dr Ali Akbari Sari, a prominent professor of public health, wrote in a recent article.
A 2015 study by the Rhinology Research Society of Iran and Johns Hopkins University found there are seven times more nose jobs per capita in Iran than in the United States.
At the time, the average cost of a nose job was estimated at between 50 million and 100 million Iranian rials (£1,100-£2,200).
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An average civil servant in Iran earns about £300 a month.