Iran recently banned the construction of “dolphinariums”—a Sea World-like attraction where marine animals are confined for entertainment. The move was initiated by Hamid Zahrabi, the deputy director or Iran’s Department of Environment, who expressed that animals should not be exploited for recreational purposes. “We believe recreational centers can be constructed without harassing animals. Therefore, I do not agree with the development of dolphinariums, and we have issued an instruction to prevent the development of these centers,” Zahrabi said. The government official banned the construction of dolphinariums after one such venue attempted to open in the city of Ahvaz. Further, Zahrabi explained that dolphinariums and other forms of animal exploitation, such as circuses, are against the basic principles of Islam. “Measures to train animals in these centers are not acceptable and, according to numerous religious decrees, such exploitation of animals is not permissible and in some cases is Haram,” Zahrabi said. In 2016, Iran banned the use of wild animals in circuses in all 31 of its states.

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