Hardliner rejects Rohani’s hands-off approach

The Tehran Friday Mass Imam and Islamic Republic hardliner Ahmad Khatami took a jab on Friday at President Hassan Rohani’s statements about avoiding government interference in people’s private lives.

Ahmad Khatami said on May 30: “A respected official has said that people cannot be put on heaven’s path by force… he has said that our school is the school of logic and reasoning. We will show the path and distinguish between the right and wrong paths, and this has been the way of the prophet.”

“The official is right in saying that when a tribe refused Islam, the prophet did not force them to become Muslims but sent teachers of the Quran,” Khatami conceded; “However, if this means that we should leave people to do whatever they want and leave the people free in all moral, political and economic matters to break all limits set by God…  this is not supported by anyone in the Islamic regime.”

Hassan Rohani, speaking last Saturday May 24 at a conference on Universal Health Insurance, said the government should avoid daily interference in people’s lives and people should be allowed to live in peace, adding that no one can be forced into heaven under the lashes of a whip.

Islamic Republic morality police regularly detain members of the public for inappropriate outfits, especially women for not sufficiently covering their hair or body. Mixed-sex parties, the consumption of alcohol and the playing of loud popular music are all grounds for the morality police to detain or arrest people.

Despite efforts from reformist president Hassan Rohani to provide greater social freedom, Islamic Republic hardliners refuse to allow it.

Khatami criticized the violations of hijab codes and concerts held for both sexes in the same venue, which he said are commonly held in Tehran, adding: “We say the government is responsible for smoothing the road to heaven for its people.”

By Radio Zamaneh


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