The head of the Iranian Supreme Leader’s office introduced the new commander of security forces in Iran by declaring the government is responsible for forcing people to choose the path toward heaven.

Ayatollah Mohammadi Golpayegani

Ayatollah Mohammadi Golpayegani

UENA reports that during the introduction ceremony for the new security chief, Ayatollah Mohammadi Golpayegani said that an Islamic government is charged with “taking people’s hand, saving them from hell and pushing them toward heaven.”

He added: “An Islamic government cannot be indifferent, and on this path, security forces need to take action to cleanse the Islamic Society of errors.”

These statements are in stark contrast to those by Iranian president Hassan Rohani, who previously has said: “Let people chose the path to heaven on their own; we cannot force people into heaven under the force of a whip.” Rohani was heavily criticized by hardliners for this statement.

Ayatollah Mohammadi Golpayegani said today: “The promotion of an Islamic atmosphere is the aim of Islamic governments, and this culture needs to increase every day, and the security forces can have an effective role in this.”

The speech by the representative of Ayatollah Khamenei appears to indicate there may be greater social restrictions on hijab and public behaviour under the new head of security, Hossein Ashtari.