A report, claimed by an opposition group to have been hacked from the Iranian presidency servers, shows that the budget for seminaries increased by 96% last year.
“The money has been spent on issues like pensions for elderly clerics and support for the retirement of seminary students," the report released by MEK-affiliated Telegram account Uprising till Overthrow said.
Iranian media had reported in January that the budget for religious organizations would increase by 130 percent, reaching $500 million, while at least 20 million more Iranians are now considered poor compared to two years ago.
Religious organizations, including seminaries, play the role of propagandists for the regime.
The group released a trove of secret and top-secret documents on May 30 that it said were obtained by hacking the government’s servers.
Since the 1979 revolution, the clergy have gained increasing power, but discontent against them has risen in recent years, particularly amid waves of protests over economic, political, and civil rights issues.
Several Iranian clerics have come under attack by angry Iranians recently as rising prices and constant protests have led to a tense environment in the country.
In recent months, while the government was keen to enforce compulsory hijab as women defied the imposed lifestyle and took to the streets, many clerics, particularly those in the government, used vulgar words about Iranian women.
Iran's top Sunni cleric Mowlavi Abdolhamid said Friday that clerics and religious seminaries must not be funded by the government to remain independent and critical.