Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who came to power in 2013 on the promise of being a more moderate leader, and in part thanks to the votes of young middle-class women, is clashing with senior clerics after he criticized the religious police for their strict interpretation of the dress code ahead of a hot summer where the morality police will likely again arrest hundreds or thousands of women for “bad hijab” (i.e. not covering their hair or figure ‘properly’). In two recent speeches, Rouhani touched on the issue of bad hijab and law enforcement, warning the religious police that they should not be “expected to act as religious scholars.” This provoked a strong reaction from Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader, and senior members of the clergy. In a speech in front of an assembly of police commanders, the Ayatollah made it clear that enforcing Islam was the first priority, contrary to statements by president Rouhani. The conflict illustrates the tensions between a moderate president and the Ayatollah, who supports a more strict interpretation of Islamic law and wants to assert his dominance over domestic policy.
Read the full story at The Guardian.