God is testing the people of Iran through international pressures, Tehran's interim Friday Prayer Imam told a congregation in the capital city, adding, "Why are you afraid of the sanctions being intensified? The hell with the sanctions and their escalation".
The mid-ranking cleric, Ayatollah Kazem Seddiqi (Seddighi), reproached people of Iran for being scared of the U.S. sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic.
"Why are you worried about the sanctions and their expansion? Don't you have a God? Isn't your daily bread provided through divine storage? Don't we read Qur'an", Seddiqi retorted.
Rhetorically comparing international pressures to child birth pain, Seddiqi said on Friday, April 19, pregnancy labor is painful, "but its outcome is a new birth."
His comments were widely derided on social media.
"I have almost no doubt that if it comes to pregnancy labor, it would be the people, not Mr. Seddiqi, who would suffer," tweeted Mohsen Bayat Zanjani.
In another part of his sermon, Seddiqi described the recent deadly floods across Iran as a praiseworthy "divine blessing."
The floods have so far left nearly eighty dead, and up to 4000 trillion rials (approximately $9 billion) of damages in 25 out of 31 provinces.
Furthermore, the interim Friday Prayers Imam lambasted the West by branding them as "wretched," affirming, "France and the U.S. are miserable, and struggling with challenges."
Washington's withdrawal from Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers and the re-imposition of sanctions have devalued the currency, rial, as well as bankrupted numerous industries across the country.