The editor-in-chief of Iran’s ILNA news agency, as well as a social media manager at the agency. were arrested over a cartoon mocking “Islamic medicine.”
ILNA’s editor-in-chief Masoud Heydari and the agency’s Telegram manager Hamid Haghjoo were arrested the same day the cartoon was posted, Tehran’s prosecutor Ali Alghasi-Mehr said on Monday.
Heydari has been released on bail, while Haghjoo is still in custody, according to state media.
The cartoon was posted and later deleted on ILNA’s Telegram channel on Friday. Telegram is a hugely popular messaging app amongst Iranians.
The cartoon mocked an “Islamic medicine” practitioner who recently urged Iranians to drink camel urine, claiming it can cure coronavirus.
The cartoon also mocked Ayatollah Abbas Tabrizian, who is considered the father of “Islamic medicine” by his followers in Iran.
“Islamic medicine” in Iran relies on the sayings of the Shia Imams to treat patients and is dismissive of modern medicine.
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei was also depicted as a nurse calling for silence in the cartoon.
Senior clerics within the Islamic Republic are said to be believers of Islamic medicine.
Powerful cleric Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi-Shahroudi – reportedly an advocate for Islamic medicine and once considered to be a possible successor to Khamenei – died in 2018 due to trusting Islamic medicine, according to his son.
“The Islamic doctors told my father to not pay attention to what the modern doctors were saying about his health,” Ala Hashemi-Shahroudi said last December.
Khamenei is also believed to be an advocate for Islamic medicine.