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Iran imam blames lack of rainfall on ‘women not wearing hijab’ amid protests

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An Iranian imam has blamed a lack of rainfall across the country on women not wearing hijabs following months of nationwide protests sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police detention.

Amini died in September following her arrest by the notorious Tehran morality police for an alleged breach of the Islamic Republic’s strict hijab dress code for women– leading to months of protests, unrest and women defiantly taking off their headscarves.

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Mohammad-Mehdi Hosseini Hamedani, the supreme leader’s representative in the city of Karaj and Friday prayer imam, said the taboo-breaking gestures of removing their headscarves, which are mandatory for women in the Islamic Republic, “has caused a lack of precipitation across the country,” the news site Iran International reported Friday.

Iran has been facing severe water shortages across the country and has faced its worst drought in 50 years.

The water crisis has affected households, agriculture, and livestock farming, and has led to power blackouts.

Hamedani reiterated that observance of hijab should be enforced strictly in society and described those who remove their headscarf as an“enemy” who must be confronted by the state.

“It is not possible to imagine that we are living in an Islamic country when we enter some institutions, shopping malls, pharmacies, etc.!” he said, calling on the authorities to warn shops and malls that serve women who have removed their hijab and close them down if warnings did not suffice.

This is not the first time that an Iranian cleric has linked Islamic rituals to drought or natural disasters.

Yousef Tabatabai Nejad, the supreme leader’s representative in the central city of Esfahan (Isfahan), said in 2016 that women who unveiled and took photos “like Europeans” are the reason for the city’s river, Zayandeh-Roud (Zayanderud), to go dry and added that if this continues, its headwaters will also dry up.

Since September, protests across Iran have escalated into calls for an end to the Islamic regime, posing the biggest challenge for the clerics since the 1979 revolution deposed the shah.

Authorities have responded with deadly violence that has left hundreds dead.

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