Tehran's interim Friday Prayer Imam chastised Iranians for fearing sacntions on the country, according to a report on Radio Farda, the Iranian outlet of the US-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
Ayatollah Kazem Seddiqi asserted during a sermon that God is testing Iranian resolve by means of international sanctions.
"Why are you worried about the sanctions and their expansion? Don't you have a God?" asked Seddiqi.
He continued, "Isn't your daily bread provided through divine storage? Don't we read Qur'an?"
The cleric also compared sanctions to pain during childbirth, saying that while going into labor is extremely painful, "its outcome is a new birth." He was ridiculed on social media for the analogy.
Seddiqi also asserted that the flooding that swept Iran at the end of March of this year was a "divine blessing." It was not immediately clear from the report what rhetorical point he was trying to make.
The floods inundated 25 of Iran's 31 provinces, killed dozens and caused about $9 billion in damage. News of the disaster took days to reach Iranian media, probably because the government tried to prevent knowledge of the devastation from becoming known.
Seth Frantzmann contributed to this report.