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Friday Prayer Leaders To Teach At Iranian Universities

Iranian Science Minister Kamran Daneshjou
Iranian Science Minister Kamran Daneshjou
Friday Prayer leaders are to teach at Iranian universities in the future under an agreement between Iran's science minister and the head of the Friday Prayer Leaders' Policymaking Council.

The agreement on April 19 between Science Minister Kamran Daneshjou and Hojatoleslam Reza Taghavi was reported in the daily newspaper "Tehran Emrooz" on April 20.

It quoted Daneshjou as saying the measure is intended to "reinforce piety and Islamic values in academic society."

Paris-based academic Saeed Peyvandi told RFE/RL's Radio Farda on April 20 that Friday Prayer leaders do not meet the requirements for the post of university professor.

He added that if Friday Prayer leaders were indeed qualified to teach at universities, they would not need the science minister to appoint them to those positions. He predicted they will fail to meet students' expectations and become a laughing stock.

He noted a recent statement by Ayatollah Mohammad Saeedi, the Friday Prayer leader of the Iranian holy city of Qom.

Saeedi said Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called the name of the first Imam of the Shi'a as he was about to be born.

Peyvandi also noted Daneshjou's comment that "although universities are the center of knowledge, spiritual purification has priority over mere acquisition of knowledge."

Listen in Persian here