Hardliner Iranian cleric Ahmad Khatami delivering a sermon during Tehran’s Friday prayer on October 21, 2022

Hardliner Cleric Calls For Tougher Sentences Against Protesters

Friday, 10/21/2022

Firebrand Iranian cleric Ahmad Khatami has called on Iran's judiciary to take tougher measures against people attending antigovernment protests, ignited by the death in custody of a 22-year-old woman. 

The hardliner cleric, who led the prayers on Friday in capital Tehran, said in his sermon that "The judiciary should deal with the rioters -- who betrayed the nation and poured water into the enemy's watermill -- in such a way that others don't again fancy to riot." 

Khatami, who is the interim representative of the Supreme Leader in Tehran and is a member of several government bodies, added that anyone who thinks the country's rulers will fall is dreaming. 

Blaming "thugs" linked to "foreign enemies" for the unrest, that has convulsed Iran after the death of Mahsa Amini last month, he said, "They have told deceived kids if they chant in the streets for a week the regime will fall. Dream on! The judiciary should deal with rioters in such a way they would never aspire to riot."

His threats were echoed by other hardliner Friday prayers Imams in various cities. The contents of Friday Prayer sermons delivered by Khamenei's local representatives in various cities are dictated by two state bodies close to Khamenei's office, officially known as "The Policy-making Council for Friday Prayer Imams" and the "Friday Prayer Headquarters," both dominated by hardliner clerics.

Despite threats as well as widespread arrests among striking workers in the oil and gas industry and young protesters on streets, the uprising is raging on across the country. 

On Friday, hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets of the southeastern city of Zahedan, three weeks after "Bloody Friday" protests, in which Iranian security forces killed at least 93 people. The protesters chanted "Death to the dictator", referring to Iran’s ruler Ali Khamenei. 

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