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Iran's President Rouhani links 'grave-sleeping' to corruption


Source: Tehran Times

TEHRAN - President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday linked social ills in the Iranian society to corruption, reacting to a letter on Tuesday by Oscar-winner director Asghar Farhadi who had said he felt "filled with shame" once he learnt about the homeless spending their nights in dug graves in a city near Tehran.

Source: Shahrvand

"Who can accept that dozens of his countrymen who have suffered social ills take refuge to graves at night because of homelessness?" Rouhani said on Wednesday at a session in Tehran.

A report by the Shahrvand daily on Tuesday stirred a row among the Iranians. Allegedly, 50 homeless people had been seen sleeping in dug graves in Nasirabad, a district near Shahriar, eastern Tehran.

Subsequent formal reports said the grave-sleepers were homeless addicts who avoided attending special shelters considered for them by municipalities.

"For 25 years now, I've been an addict and street dweller," the report quoted one of the so-called grave-dwellers as saying.

cartoon by Ehsan Ganji, Ghanoon daily

Whatsoever the reason, this is unacceptable, Rouhani stated, urging all parties and political currents to join hands to address corruption as the cause root of social ills.

"This is bearable neither for the government nor for the people," he lamented.

He added, "To solve such issues we need to unify and stop partisanship... The government and nation both have responsibility to fight corruption.

"Short of an anti-corruption campaign, social solidarity isn't achieved and social capital is damaged."

cartoon by Reza Jangi, Etemad daily

In his campaign speeches in 2013, Rouhani pledged an economic recovery, lower unemployment, and flourishing business.

He also vowed a tougher stance on corruption.

The grave-sleeping report came nearly two weeks after Rouhani declared a Citizens' Rights Charter.

The charter, which has 120 articles, emphasizes the right to a "decent life," including the rights to freedom of speech, access to information, health services, a clean environment, clean water, food, etc.

Also, it comes against a backdrop of revelations that senior government employees were being paid astronomical salaries, a signal of growing income gap in the contemporary Iranian society.

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