The chairman of the influential Society of Seminary Teachers of Qom, Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, has warned judges across Iran to watch out for the chicanery and deceitfulness of women.
Using the Islamic term "kayd al-Nisa" or "women's trickery,” Yazdi said "Since women might influence judges by their deceitfulness, judges should avoid receiving female individuals alone at their offices."
Speaking to a gathering of clerical scholars with legal backgrounds on December 3 Yazdi warned that women also use their “trickery” in sexual relations.
Yazdi was the head of the Islamic Republic's judiciary for a decade (1989-1999).
While the 87-year-old cautioned against private meetings with women, He did say that women are highly valued in Islam and that humankind is deeply indebted to them.
The Islamic Republic's authorities repeatedly insist on the "high position" of women and their "great role" in Islam but argue against their participation in social and political affairs and in favor of limiting their role to housekeeping and raising children.
Segregation of the sexes has been enforced since the founding of the Islamic Republic in 1979, and women’s behavior is closely scrutinized, from their dress to their hobbies; even women’s singing in public is forbidden.
Yazdi, who is notorious for his controversial speeches, had earlier cautioned President Rouhani and his minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance against promoting music, especially female voices.
"Based on Islam, female singing is 'haram' (forbidden), and all jurists are unanimous on that matter,” Yazdi said.
Yazdi also recently rebuked Grand Ayatollah Moussa Shobeiri Zanjani for meeting with a handful of pro-reform figures, including mid-ranking cleric and former President Khatami (1997-2005) and former Attorney-General and leader of the students who stormed the U.S. Embassy in 1979 taking 52 American diplomats hostage for 444 days, Mohammad Mousavi Khoeiniha.
In an open letter to the 90-year-old Grand Ayatollah, Yazdi told him he had a responsibility to avoid meeting with “troublesome” political figures like the reformists.
The letter triggered a barrage of criticism from the pro-reform camp in the country.
Iranians on social media, including younger clerics, also attacked Yazdi for his disrespectful address. One high-ranking cleric, Ayatollah Mohammad Andalib Hamadani, resigned from the Society of Seminary Teachers in protest of Yazdi’s letter.
Yazdi has been removed from most of his official positions, including that of Tehran’s Friday Prayer Leader, and the reason, according to many observers, is his bad temper.
The head of the Society of Seminary Teachers of Qom is appointed by the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic.