Is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insane or just playing a game for political purposes?
(The National) — Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government is seeking to divert attention from hardline rivals’ allegations that some of the Iranian president’s allies, including his chief of staff, are involved in black magic and exorcism.
The government is doing so by assuming the leading role in the battle against occult practices and nonconformist ideologies.
Alireza Afshar, acting interior minister in executive affairs, told Nasim Online, a news website, that the ministry had commissioned a non-governmental organisation to identify those engaged in divination and exorcism as well as “deviant schools of thought and false Gnosticism”.
Under Iranian laws various kinds of occultism are punishable by fines and jail terms of up to seven years.
In a later interview Mr Afshar added “devil-worshippers” as subjects of the intended crackdown. Devil-worshipper is the collective term that authorities in Iran often use to refer to underground rock bands and young people dressing unconventionally or “western-style”.