The cleric, Mehdi Daneshmand
Speaking on Iranian state TV, a prominent cleric said that during a recent visit to some of the survivors of the massive November 2017 earthquake in Kermanshah which left thousands dead or homeless, he chided them for forgetting the far longer suffering of Imam Zaman, the ninth century figure believed by Twelver Shiites to be the ‘Twelfth Imam’ or ‘Hidden Imam’, the savior and redeemer of Islam whose miraculous reappearance will herald the reemergence of Issa (Jesus) and bring peace and justice to the world.
The survivors of the massive earthquake in Kermanshah have been living in tents with barely any food and no running water for months since the quake which destroyed their homes.
The cleric, Mehdi Daneshmand, a regime favourite noted for his hard-line beliefs and controversial sermons, told the presenter, “In the case of the recent Kermanshah earthquake, in a speech to the quake-stricken people there, I told them that my heart went out to Imam Zaman. I asked them how many months they had been living in tents? They replied, ‘About five or six months, all of us have said oh no we’re living in tents.’
But for one thousand-and-eighty-four years the Imam Zaman has been desperate, homeless and displaced, living in the desert! Not even once did our hearts feel pity for Imam Zaman for living in deserts in a tent. He did not come to the city, and why would he come to the city? Would he come to the city to grieve after seeing all these sins or seeing some of the young addicts?!’” (29”)
The reaction of those left homeless by the Kermanshah earthquake to the cleric’s lecture was not recorded.