TEHRAN — Reformist President Mohammad Khatami on Sunday denounced tougher Islamic rules imposed by Iran's hard-line judiciary, including widespread public floggings.
"In a society in which there is discrimination, poverty and graft, you cannot expect youngsters not to break the law. . . . With tough punishments you cannot remove social corruption," Khatami told parliament.
Since Khatami's landslide reelection in June, dozens of men have been publicly flogged for consuming alcohol and "harassing" women. The judiciary also has ordered police to arrest women flouting dress codes and shopkeepers playing loud music.
Reformists say the moves are an attempt by conservatives to embarrass the president. Conservatives insist that public punishments are an inseparable part of Islamic strictures.