(Ahmad Khatami leading this week's Friday prayers. Source: Arash Mirsepasi/YJC)
On the anniversary of kashf-e hejab, forced unveiling of Iranian women by Iran’s modernist autocrat king Reza Pahlavi, clerics across the country highlighted the central role of hijab as part of the country’s Islamic identity, and called the increasing mal-observance of hijab rules in Iran a foreign conspiracy. However, it was the recent feud between Chief Magistrate Sadegh Larijani and President Hassan Rouhani that served as the central theme of Friday prayers’ sermons this week. Friday prayers’ imams accros the country called for reconciliation between the two sides, and warned about such clashes in the public. A number of Friday prayers’ leaders also criticized the government for its economic record, and called for further attention to citizens’ welfare.
In Tehran, Ahmad Khatami asked for heads of the judiciary and executive not to bring their problems into the public sphere. “Quarreling through the media is not in the interest of citizens and the revolution” he advised, adding that such disputes encourage anti-establishment media to speak of systematic corruption in the establishment. Khatami added that attacks on legal institutions of the Islamic Republic, particularly the judiciary, is part of “enemy’s plan” before the upcoming presidential election, calling for the judiciary to follow corruption cases regardless of external pressures.
In Zanjan, northwestern Iran, Ali Khatami also called officials not to publicize their internal differences, as it created distrust among the citizens and created disillusionment. “Publicizing such differences is not in the interest of the citizens and the revolution” he said. In Semnan, Mohammad Shahcheraghi stated that recent media attacks against the judiciary are due to its relentless fight against ‘seditionists’, i.e. supporters of the 2009 Green Movement, and its battle against fiscal corruption. Shahcheraghi thanked the judiciary officials for withstanding the pressures.
In Qazvin, north of Iran, Friday prayers’ Abdolkarim Abadini was critical against the government as usual. Abedini called for officials to serve the citizens and not to suspend their activities for the sake of upcoming presidential elections. Qazvin’s Friday prayers’ leader also cast doubt over official statistics claiming the improving state of economy. “As long as false data on job creation are released, the unemployment problem will be solved” he added. Similar remarks were iterated by Friday prayers’ leader of Rasht in Caspian province of Guilan. “As long as people do not feel the [effect of] improving statistics in the society, releasing such data has no impact” Gholam-Reza Shafizadeh said. Rasht’s sermonizer also expressed concern over devaluation of rial, Iran’s national currency, during the recent years and decreasing purchasing power of citizens. “The Iranian nation has not benefitted at all from the JCPOA”, the nuclear deal, he complained, asking about the fate of the money returned to the country after sanctions were lifted. “People have not sensed the impact of the return of this money to the country.”