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Mullahs Demand More Money for Islamic Studies amid Protests in Iran

Shiite clerics talk, as one of them check his cell phone, at the Sadr seminary in the city of Isfahan some 234 miles (390 kilometers) south of the capital Tehran, Iran, Saturday, April 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
AP/Vahid Salemi

Despite protests calling for greater economic restraint in funding projects to promote Shiite Islam around the world, Islamic leaders during a Friday prayer called for more money to go towards Shiite seminaries in Iran.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has a population of mostly secular youth who, on December 28, renewed calls for the ousting of the radical Islamic government for the first time since 2009.

Iranians have taken to the streets of Iran for nearly three weeks to protest against poverty and their government’s allocation of funds on foreign ventures instead of focusing on their suffering population at home.

The financial disclosures revealed in December reportedly marked the first time since 1979 that President Hassan Rouhani’s proposed budget has highlighted the Islamic Republic’s financial support for Shiite seminaries and ideological entities.

“The budget allocated to the cultural sector is not significant. If we are going to promote and spread religion [Shi’ism], we should earmark an appropriate budget for the Shi’ite seminaries and cultural centers,” a mid-ranking Iranian clergy, Ayatollah Kazem Sadighi (also known as Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi) reportedly said on Friday, January 12.

Breitbart News previously reported:

In 2010, Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi, a senior Iranian cleric, said women who wear revealing clothing and behave promiscuously are to be blamed for earthquakes. “Many women who do not dress modestly … lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which increases earthquakes,” he said.

According to Radio Farda, the budget reaches nearly $1 billion and “many believe boosting allocations to religious foundations in Rouhani’s newly proposed budget was one of the factors that triggered recent widespread protests in the country.”

Meanwhile, the budget also discloses that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) will receive $8 billion for their military intervention in nations like Syria, Libya, and Iraq while Iran’s vast population continues to suffer from inflation, poverty, lack of freedom, and human rights abuses.

Radio Farda lists some of the budgetary allocations:

$110 million for the High Council of Religious Seminaries, which oversees all religious seminaries in the country and issues permits for the establishment of new schools, among other things. Its budget shows an increase of more than 16 percent compared to the previous year.

$105 million for “supporting religious seminaries.” From that amount, $88 million will be allocated to training male clergymen and $16 million for “cultural and promotional activities” by male students of religious seminaries.

$5 million for supporting religious “research activities” by seminary students.

$150 million for the Service Center for Religious Seminaries, a welfare institution that provides support to retired and disabled clergymen and the families of deceased clergy. The institution also pays scholarships for religious seminaries and funds cultural and sports activities for students.

$75 million is allocated for Al-Mustafa International University, an umbrella organization for religious seminaries providing education to foreign students of Shi’ism, within and outside of Iran. This institution is also used for expanding influence abroad.

Read the entire report here.

Adelle Nazarian is a politics and national security reporter for Breitbart News. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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