Of Adultery and Earthquakes

Hardliners put a sinful spin even on geoscience.

Recently, as Iranians were finally returning to their homes and workplaces after this year’s exceptionally long holiday recess, they were treated to one of President Ahmadinejad’s trademark “media strikes.”

While inspecting an emergency operations center on April 6, Ahmadinejad said, “If, God forbid, something terrible does happen and an earthquake hits Tehran, many of the thoroughfares will be blocked; water, gas, water networks will blow up; and many of us will not be able to report to work to help with the situation.” He subsequently requested that 5 million of the city’s residents quit Tehran to avert disaster. “I ask all those who have the ability to relocate themselves to do so,” he warned ominously.

As for the timing of this startling statement, he said a high-ranking member of the clergy had recently asked him to relay his earthquake fears to the country: “One of the great ulama of Tehran has sent me a message to ask everyone to take this threat quite serious.” To back up the assertions, several pro-government papers and news services as well as the sycophantic IRIB, the state broadcasting network, were filled in the ensuing days with horror stories of what might befall the capital in the event of an earthquake. It wasn’t immediately clear, even for the regime’s most hardcore supporters, what had motivated the volatile president or the nonymous holy man to indulge in such alarmism at this partic… >>>

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