According to the BBC, an Iranian cleric Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi blames earthquakes on promiscuous women. "Many women who do not dress modestly lead young men astray and spread adultery in society which increases earthquakes," he said. Tens of thousands of people have died in Iran earthquakes in the last decade. Mr Sedighi was delivering a sermon on the need for a "general repentance" by Iranians. "What can we do to avoid being buried under the rubble? There is no other solution but to take refuge in religion and to adapt our lives to Islam's moral codes," he said.
Yesterday, the Washington Post noted that Iran's Shiite clerics have more broadly asserted that earthquakes are a punishment from God for immorality. However, seismology experts are not pleased by the inexpert analysis.
"Belief in God is very good, but we should not put all responsibility on his shoulders," Bahram Akasheh, a professor of geophysics, said in an interview. Akasheh is Iran's most senior expert on quakes. He has been studying the ground beneath Tehran for more than 35 years and foresees a bleak future for the capital. Tension has been building along the fault lines for years. There is, he says, a 70 percent chance of a magnitude-7 quake, eventually. He and other scientists have expected such a tremor to strike for the past decade based on previous seismic patterns in Iran.
"Half of the population will die, there will be a complete breakdown of all infrastructure, nearby dams will break, large fires will erupt. Tehran will become completely uninhabitable," he said. "There is no way of really avoiding this. We can't save this city."