Iran Daily: Tehran Friday Leader — Some Protesters Should Be Executed

Tehran Friday Prayer Leader Ahmad Khatami delivers his sermon, January 5, 2018 (Ebrahim Noroozi/AP)

Ahmad Khatami attacks authorities for releasing protesters from detention


Hardline cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, a Tehran Friday Prayer leader, has called for the death penalty for some protesters in Iran.

In his latest sermon, Khatami responded to the protests over political and economic issues that spread through Iran from December 28 over the next two weeks. He said that, according to the rules of Shia Islam, the just sentence for those who “pour into the street” and “oppose the ruler” is execution.

Khatami criticized authorities for freeing many of the more than 4,000 people who were detained during the demonstrations: releasing an unknown number of protesters detained nationwide, Khatami said, “The honorable authority says in an interview that all protesters have been freed. This is pampering them when they should be punished.”

Many in the regime have made a distinction between protesters and the claim of foreign-led agitators who led them into violence. However, Khatami said all should suffer consequences: “Those who had been hoodwinked and deceived should be awakened, punished, and commit themselves in writing to refrain from further devilry and being pawns at the hands of rioters.”

Judiciary spokesman Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ejei has claimed that authorities pursued leniency over the mass arrests of demonstrators: “If there were any detentions during the riots, we had insisted to keep them out of prisons lest it become a criminal record for the deceived rioters.”

Khatami responded with a verbal attack on Mohseni Ejei and Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Doulatabadi:

The honorable official gives an interview and says all detainees were released. They should be warned in order to see that they have been wrong; since the insurgents, whoever they might be, either university or seminary students, should be punished.

Activists say at least five detainees died in custody during the protests. Families of some of the men say they were beaten, but Iranian officials insisted that all committed suicide or were “terrorists” who were not detained but killed in clashes with security forces.

Government Researchers: Almost Half Want End to Compulsory Hijab

Amid protests over the compulsory wearing of hijab, the Government’s Strategic Studies Center has summarized that the issue is one of the thorniest in Iran today.

The Center assesses that almost 50% of Iranian believe hijab is a private issue and the government should not interfere. About 25% of men want their wives to be able to appear in public without hijab.

The researchers also conclude that existing hijab laws are often ignored.

Since late December, a series of women have taken off their hijabs in public and, standing on electricity boxes, waved them on the end of sticks. Some men have joined the demonstrations in sympathy.

Currency Still Falling, Reports of Unrest

Iran’s rial continues to slide to a historic low, amid instability and concern about the economy.

The rial is now reported at about 47,500:1 vs. the US dollar on tracker websites, while local reports from Tehran say the rate is now about 48,000:1.

Long queues are reported on Tehran’s Ferdowsi Street, the center of currency exchanges, as Iranians try to obtain foreign currencies before the rial slides further. Scuffles are said ot have broken out.

The Iranian currency has dipped sharply in recent weeks, amid difficulties with recovery and protests across the country. It is now weaker than the low point of about 45,000:1 during the last years of the Ahmadinejad Administration before it left office in 2013.

Reports: Protests as Authorities Try to Detain 90-Year-Old Head of Gonabadi Dervishes

Reports are circulating that Iranian authorities are trying to arrest the 90-year-old spiritual leader of the Gonabadi Dervishes, Iran’s largest Sufi religious order.

Gonabadi members and other people have gathered on a Tehran avenue to try to block the detention of Nour-Ali Tabandeh for “action against national security”, according to the reports.

Iranian officials have periodically detained members of the Dervishes.

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  1. “Families of some of the men say they were beaten, but Iranian officials insisted that all committed suicide or were “terrorists” who were not detained but killed in clashes with security forces.”

    It is quite possible they were injured before being taken to prison rather than to a hospital.

  2. If the currency continues to fall, then prices will have to rise since importers will be paying more for raw materials and parts. This wassn’t supposed to happen post-JCPOA.

  3. According to the always accurate Radio Farda, this is what Ayatollah Khatami actually stated in Persian:

    در فقه ما کسی که علیه حاکم عادل اسلامی به خیابان بریزد، بزند، بکشد و آتش بزند، باغی [سرکش] است و حکم باغی در فقه ما اعدام است؛ که در
    .قرآن مجید به صراحت آمده است

    My close translation:“In our jurisprudence, someone who pours into the street against the just Islamic ruler in order to attack, to kill and to committ arson is a rebel/insurgent; the sentence for such a person in our jurisprudence is exection. This is explicitly stated in the glorious Qur’an.”

    The verse in the Qur’an that Ayatollah Khatami refers to is 5:33, which mentions the punishment for “Hirabah” (waging war against God): “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter.”

    Notice how the English version of Radio Farda, cited in this article, omits the fact that Khatami is making a distinction between violent opposition to the government of the just ruler and any peaceful protests which he previously stated were legitimate.

  4. Government Researchers: Almost Half Want End to Compulsory Hijab:

    That isn’t actually what the survey (no methodology for which was presented) actually asked:

    1. Do you regard the choice of clothing and the issue of hejab to be a personal matter, and the government should not interfere in it?

    2. Do you think that people badly veiled should be confronted?

    That isn’t a straight forward do you agree with mandatory or voluntary hejab.

    • “Do you regard the choice of clothing and the issue of hejab to be a personal matter, and the government should not interfere in it?”

      49.8% said personal matter — which is an end to government interference with compulsory hijab

      • No. it isn’t. The way the question was worded in Persian is way open to interpretation. It wasn’t a straight forward, “do you support mandatory or voluntary hejab”? Some might have understood the question to mean how hejab is enforced by the “guidance patrol” rather than whether the law of the dress code should be changed. Also, the alternative option was whether badly veiled women should be confronted.

        • I understand you’re spinning because you don’t like the outcome. The question is clear, as multiple reports have indicated, as “Do you regard the choice of clothing and the issue of hejab to be a personal matter, and the government should not interfere in it?”

          • I’m not spinning this. The New York Times and Deutsche Welle are spinning it because the question (and answer) itself is not clear. Women in Iran do choose their own clothing, albeit in conformance with the dress code, so it doesn’t make much sense. My sister chooses to wear a skirt and not jeans, for example, Moreover, even if you do think it is primarily a personal matter, that doesn’t mean you necessarily think the law should be changed, Regarding the accuracy of the survey, I would like to see how “nationwide” it really was, and whether the government department contacted people in the villages (where 30% of the population lives),which they often don’t do (unlike ISPA and other scientific polling agencies).

  5. Half of Iran wants to drop headscarf laws: government report:

    See what I mean? This is a complete distortion by DW of what the actual survey reported. The government department never asked, “Do you think the dress code law should be changed or cancelled? Instead, they asked, in flowery language, whether proper hejab was a personal matter, and whether the government should interfere in the choice of clothing. They also asked whether badly veiled women should be punished. The survey also goes on in great detail about the precise definition of hejab, and that is what is was actually intended for.

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