flight (illustrative)
flight (illustrative)Reuters

Iran has ordered domestic airlines to take off half an hour after pre-dawn Muslim prayers, the website of country's civil aviation organization quoted its chief as saying on Wednesday.

"According to a directive we issued to the domestic airlines, from now on the airlines will be authorized to take off at least 30 minutes after the morning Azan (the pre-dawn call to prayer),"said civil aviation chief Hamid Reza Pahlevani, as reported by AFP.

He said the decision was taken "so that passengers can fulfill their religious duty of prayer."

Iran has practiced Islamic sharia law since its 1979 Islamic revolution. Iranian carriers do not serve alcoholic beverages nor non-halal food on either domestic or international flights.

On long-haul flights, in-cabin monitors also show the direction of Mecca, to which Muslims turn during times of prayer.

Pahlevani also reiterated the requirement that all flight crew and ground personnel observe the Islamic dress code.

On Iranian airlines, all air hostesses wear headscarves and long coats, and air stewards do not wear ties as they are deemed a symbol of Western culture, AFP reported.

All women in Iran beyond the age of puberty, regardless of their nationality or religion, are required to cover their hair and much of the body. Those who do not abide by the dress code risk arrest.