Cleric says Iran President encourages superstitious practices

Iran’s former nuclear negotiator, a cleric, has said that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government is encouraging superstitious practices.

The remarks have intensified the debate over the return of the Shia saviour, the 12th Imam known as the Mehdi.

Channel 4 (UK) report: Iran’s Ahmadinejad preparing for the coming of the 12th Imam.

Since Mr Ahmadinejad came to power he has repeatedly spoken of the need to plan for the Mehdi’s imminent return.

Shia believe he went into hiding more than 1,000 years ago but will return to save the world from injustice.

Many Shia clerics do not approve of the cult rapidly growing around the Mehdi.

Iran’s former nuclear negotiator, Hassan Rowhani, has complained about what he calls games, superstitions and trickery that make a mockery of the people.

Hassan Rowhani said the 12th Imam himself made it clear that anybody who claimed to have seen him would be a liar.

Mr Rowhani asked how two or three years ago one person could have said the Mehdi would return in a couple of years.

Although he does not mention his name it is clear Mr Rowhani is referring to President Ahmadinejad.

His government has often discussed plans for the return of the 12th Imam and Mr Ahmadinejad frequently refers to the “Missing Imam” in speeches.

President Ahmadinejad has also spent millions of dollars on a mosque at Jamkaran, south of the capital, where pilgrims post letters with their prayers to the 12th Imam down a well.

Mr Rowhani’s attack on those who promote the idea that the saviour will come soon is one of the most scathing by a prominent cleric.

He said when they pray some people already lay another prayer mat for the “Missing Imam”. Others set an extra plate on the dinner table for the Imam.

He complained some Iranians were even scheduling meetings on Fridays because that is the day they think the 12th Imam will return.

• Original title: Row over Ahmadinejad Imam beliefs

Vacation? Short break? Day trip? Get Skip-the-line tickets at GetYourGuide.


(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)

Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday February 21, 2008.
Last updated if a date shows here:


More About This Subject


Our website includes affiliate links, which means we get a small commission -- at no additional cost to you -- for each qualifying purpose. For instance, as an Amazon Associate, Religion News Blog earns from qualifying purchases. That is one reason why we can provide this research service free of charge.

Speaking of which: One way in which you can support us — at no additional cost to you — is by shopping at