Seyyed Youssef Tabatabi-nejad, who leads Friday prayers in Isfahan, encouraged the country’s morality police to crack down on ‘improper veiling’ and suggested women’s immodest clothing was having an impact on the environment.
In a sermon this week, he said: “My office has received photos of women next to the dry Zayandeh-rud River pictured as if they are in Europe. It is these sorts of acts that cause the river to dry up even further,” ISNA News Agency reported.
“I tell the Communications Ministry to clamp down on the instigators of the networks encouraging immodesty. If you don’t do so, then you will have failed to carry out your duty. The Communications Ministry can discover and suffocate these individuals.
“If we see a sin it’s useless that we only bicker about it. The police force can use the [paramilitary] Hezbollahi forces in carrying out their operations to root out vice,” he added.
His comments come following an increase in the number of morality police in Iran and subsequent crackdown on women failing to veil correctly, playing music too loudly in their cars or acting in a way that is perceived to be un-Islamic by the authorities.
Imam Tabatabi-nejad’s comments have been criticised by the National Council of Resistance of Iran, with a member of the group’s foreign affairs committee, Afchine Alavi, commenting: “This reflects the typical mindset of the theocratic regime ruling Iran which is no different to the culture of Daesh (Isis).
“Misogyny is a cornerstone of this mindset. The regime’s increasing isolation with each passing day results in more brutal methods of suppression being employed by the regime.”
The imam has previously made comments that women should stay at home while men work, as well as previously condoning violence against women who do not adhere to the country’s dress code, Iran Wire reported.