Six young men and three young women beat up a cleric in Meshkin Dasht, a small town near Tehran on Thursday, Iranian media revealed on Sunday July 21.
Fars news agency reported that the youngsters attacked the cleric who wanted to lecture them in the street about the prohibition of friendly relations with members of the opposite sex. Such interventions by clerics and members of Iran’s morality police are officially known as “promotion of virtues and prohibition of vice.”
The cleric, Amir Hassan-Zadeh who was beaten up was hospitalized and then released. The director general of the Islamic Propagation Organization’s local office went to visit him at his home.
Previously attempts to force Islamic dress code and social behavior on young and modern Iranians have occasionally led to violence.
In 2014, a young man attacked in a similar way died after a clash with other youngsters. Subsequently, the Iranian Parliament passed legislation to support those who “promote virtues and prohibit vice in public.”
Radio Farda reported in June that efforts by hijab enforcers in Iran to oblige women to observe a strict dress code have led to more incidents in public, as citizens resent strangers admonishing them about their appearance.
In June a video also circulated showing a young woman pushing away another woman who is clad in heavy hijab and acting as a hijab enforcer in the city of Khomam.
However, President Hassan Rouhani did not endorse the legislation and instead wrote a letter to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to stop the implementation of the problematic law, which would encourage vigilantism.
Khamenei referred Rouhani’s letter to an arbitration board that eventually supported the Parliament’s view.