A senior Iranian cleric says women who wear immodest clothing and behave promiscuously are to blame for earthquakes.
Iran is one of the world's most earthquake-prone countries, and the cleric's unusual explanation for why the earth shakes follows a prediction by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that a quake is certain to hit Teheran and that many of its 12 million inhabitants should relocate.
"Many women who do not dress modestly ... lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes," Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi was quoted as saying by Iranian media. Sedighi is Teheran's acting Friday prayer leader.
Women in the Islamic Republic are required by law to cover from head to toe, but many, especially the young, ignore some of the more strict codes and wear tight coats and scarves pulled back that show much of the hair.
"What can we do to avoid being buried under the rubble?" Sedighi asked during a prayer sermon Friday. "There is no other solution but to take refuge in religion and to adapt our lives to Islam's moral codes."