Iranian health minister reiterates controversial claims over judiciary chiefs’ mental instability

The Iranian health minister recently reiterated earlier comments in which he suggested, albeit obliquely that the heads of the country’s judicial branch are mentally ill. 

In an interview with the Minister of Health and Medical Education, Seyyed Hassan Ghazizadeh Hashemi,  broadcaster on ‘Tehran TV’ on April 2, the presenter asked the minister, “You said that the narcissism of regime officials will bring about problems for the people, suggesting that politicians, members of parliament, clerics who deliver sermons and the imams delivering the Friday prayers  should not increase the workload of the country’s psychiatrists,” clearly implying that these officials are suffering from psychological problems and require treatment.

“Well, what I said is true,” the minister replied.

The presenter, laughing, said, “I’m not saying that your statement was untrue; what I meant is that you said it very sharply – although they [the regime officials] condemned your comments for what you said about them.”

Hashemi replied, “That’s fine. What’s the problem if they criticize me? As long as long as they’re tolerant that’s okay.  It’s very good when they allow me to say my words and I allow them to say their words as well.     But the fact is, some of us do have problems with psychiatric and mental health disorders; well, the statistics show that [the number of people in Iran with such disorders] is high in this country, at about 16 percent. It’s not contrary to expectations that mental disorders would also be found among officials since it exists. What I said is that for those who have this problem, we [the Ministry of Health and Medical Education] are in a state of readiness to treat them

The TV presenter then said, “You’ve recently criticized the heads of the three branches [of government – legislative, executive and judiciary] about having mental problems.

The minister responded, “Well no, what I suggested to them is that each of them every two or three weeks or once a month could attend private, closed-door psychiatric and counseling sessions to talk about their problems and sit and drink tea together.”

The TV presenter jokingly asked, “So you could have a chat together and if you wanted you could quarrel?”

Hashemi replied, “Yes, but in my opinion, we could do it in a friendly way.”

The presenter’s last question for the minister was, “Have you been criticized by the president for what you’ve been complaining about?” with Hashemi responding, “Mr. President is a very honorable person.  All the words that I’ve said up to this day aren’t directed at him