Despite the rising cost of energy in Iran, Parliament today approved a bill making water, gas and electricity free for mosques, seminaries and centres where the Quran is taught.

The Mehr News Agency reports that the bill was approved today, Monday.

Ali Larijani, the head of Parliament, said this is the only time he has spoken in support of an article in the latest government budget, adding: “One thing that is clear to all of us is that the opposition movement working against the Islamic Revolution is after certain objectives in our country and that is to weaken the religious roots of our people.”

He added that the “purest” centres to protect the country’s religion are mosques and seminaries. He maintained that when music, theatre and cinema get support from the government, then mosques need to be given similar support.

Georg Vartan, the northern Armenian representative in Parliament, protested the move, saying if mosques receive such benefits then so should religious minorities.

The head of Parliament agreed to follow up on the issue and include religious minorities in the bill.