Two days after Iran’s Supreme Leader expressed concern over cultural issues in Iran, President Hassan Rohani lashed back at the rising criticism, denouncing “pressure and policing methods” as a way of confronting cultural issues facing the country.
IRNA reports that Rohani said on Saturday March 8 in Tehran: “Why after 35 years have we not been able to create a cultural atmosphere in the country that would satisfy our elders? What is the problem?”
“If pressure and policing methods were the right method, we would not be so concerned about cultural issues in our society today,” said Rohani in response to his own question.
On Thursday, Ayatollah Khamenei said in cultural issues there must be “an emphasis on religious and revolutionary culture.”
He stressed that, like the Assembly of Experts, he is extremely concerned about cultural issues, warning that the administration cannot afford to “neglect cultural issues.”
The Iranian president questioned the value of heavy government spending on state-sponsored books and cultural events, saying: “If all that investment in the cultural sector is effective, then why are we so worried about cultural matters?”
Rohani stressed that all media outlets have equal rights and authorization and must be treated equally by the government. He stressed that opposition media should have the same liberties and be afforded similar security as media supporting the government.