“The Western technology is like muddy and unsanitary water,” the senior conservative cleric told the Tehran Times on Sunday. “Water is the lifeblood, but when it gets murky and unsanitary it must be purified.”
Makarem-Shirazi isn’t against all technology. After all, he has a Web site where followers can ask for religious rulings, as one group of activists did in this case. In the past he’s passed judgment on a variety of subjects, such as the morality of pet food advertisements — devotion to the animals would result in “evil outcomes,” he warned.
On Monday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who campaigned on the promise of better Internet access, stood by the Web. “We cannot close the gates of the world to our younger generation,” he said in a televised meeting with conservative clerics. “If we do not move toward the new generation of mobile today and resist it, we will have to do it tomorrow. If not, the day after tomorrow.”
The fatwa isn’t binding on the administration, but illustrates the opposition the centrist government is up against given that conservatives occupy key positions in judicial, intelligence and security branches and that conservatives hold a majority in parliament.