After around 700 people died in road accidents during the Persian New Year (Nowruz) celebrations in Iran, Islamic clerics have stepped in to control the situation by proclaiming rash driving to be a sin. However, as per police Chief Taghi Mehri, the figure of 700 deaths is actually an improvement of 12%, as compared to last year’s data. Nonetheless, it does not obscure the fact that over half a million people have died in road accidents in Iran during the past two decades. This has prompted the Islamic clerics to step in.
Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi said that it is a sin to violate traffic laws. He also said that following traffic rules is a part of religious duty. By saying these words, the Ayatollah was reiterating what he had said in 2014, “Driving while tired and sleepy, illegally passing other cars and running red lights are haram (forbidden).” Iran is ranked among middle-income countries, and yet its record of road deaths is similar to that of extremely poor African countries such as Libya, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.