A conservative newspaper in Iran has called on President Ebrahim Raisi to shut down the Islamic Propagation Organization and spend the budget on pressing needs.

In an editorial authored by the daily's outspoken managing editor Masih Mohajeri on June 9, Jomhouri Eslami [Islamic Republic] writing about the Iranian government's economic problems said, "A government that holds up payments to pensioners as a bid to solve its economic problems should prioritize its expenditures and get rid of unnecessary organizations."

The daily asked: "Some of Iran's cultural organizations do nothing other than duplicating the efforts of other government institutions. For instance, what kind of service is the Islamic Propagation Organization rendering that justifies its survival?" The newspaper maintained: "The high-maintenance organization should have attained its initial goals during the past 40 years [of an Islamic government]. If it hasn't, it means that it has not been successful."

The Islamic Propagation Organization is a body that operates in parallel with Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and one of its objectives is offering guidelines to Friday Prayer Imams in cities and towns nationwide.

Over the past four decades, the organization's main function has been justifying the government's policies and trumpeting the ideas of fundamentalists in Iran such as the Friday Prayer Imams in Isfahan and Mashhad. The two clerics are often criticized by the people for undermining human rights and advocating violence against women and those who follow a lifestyle different from the preferences of the fundamentalists.

Masih Mohajeri, the conservative editor who called for abolishing Islamic proaganda outfits

Last week, a young man in Isfahan attacked Yousef Tabatabainejad, the Imam in Isfahan who had opined that people can attack "bad-hijab" women at their own discretion. In their sermons on Friday June 10, several imams made outlandish statements. Ignoring Iran's economic problems, Rasoul Abdollahi who led the prayers in Tabriz said that Raisi's economic policy is being followed in Russia as an economic model for resistance.

Meanwhile, Mohamad Nabi Mousavi Fard in Ahwaz called for shaming those who undermine “Islamic values in the streets” as a lesson for others, while Ahmad Khatami in Tehran and many others in other cities repeated the official jargon about a resolution passed this week at the UN nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, criticizing Iran's non-cooperative behavior and praised the government for undermining IAEA safeguards.

In another article on Thursday, the Jomhouri Eslami wrote that the government has increased the Islamic Propagation Organization's budget by 156 per cent in for the current year. The article charged that the government of President Ebrahim Raisi has started what he called an "economic surgery" by targeting the poorest Iranians while giving more funds to government bodies such as the Islamic Propagation Organization.

Last year the organization received around $40 million based on the average exchange rate in 2021, there fore this year the appropriation is more than $100 million. Although this might not seem like a large sum by Western standards, in Iran an average person has a salary of $150 per month.

Overall, the government spends close to $800 million on propaganda outfits, not counting the state television with close to 40,000 employees and a $200 million budget plus advertising income.

The article went on to say that such organizations have been a burden on the country's annual budget and national financial resources for years without being able to contribute to productive efforts or the nation's welfare. The daily argued that economic pressures should be distributed fairly among various parts of the government and groups of the population.

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