Attacks on Iranian clerics, fueled by public disdain over suffocating restrictions on public life and the dire economic conditions, have been on the rise in Iran in recent years, according to Iranian daily Radio Farda.
Iran has reported several incidents of physical attacks of clerics, with many religious officials saying they no longer wear their robes or turbans in public to avoid being targeted, Radio Farda reported.
Two-dozen clerics were violently attacked in the past decade, out of which three were killed and two were blinded, according to Radio Farda.
Recent attacks have also targeted low-level clerics who have attempted to enforce strict religious codes in public such as the hijab rule, the report added.
Many Iranians can no longer tolerate clerics who impose “their reactionary lifestyle on others,” Radio Farda cited Tehran-based dissident cleric Abolfazl Najafi-Tehrani as saying.
“In recent years, we have witnessed people’s hatred and anger towards particularly those clerics who follow state policies,” Najafi-Tehrani said, adding that a governing system based on religion and its interference in the daily lives of people has sparked resentment towards the religious officials.
According to the report, Iranians are also angry over the fact that a large sum of the state’s budget continues to be spent on seminaries – despite crippling US sanctions that have plunged hundreds in the country into poverty.
Countrywide protests are proof that Iranians “demand the withdrawal of the clerics and the noninterference of religion and religious representatives in the state,” Najafi-Tehrani said.