Iranian Majles member Masoud Pezeshkian, who has previously served as Iran's Minister of Health, said in a September 19, 2022 show on IRINN TV (Iran) that he is sorry over the recent death of Mahsa Amini, a young Iranian woman who recently died after being beaten and arrested by Iran's morality police for wearing her hijab "improperly." He said that Iran's laws are meant to make people more chaste and modest, but instead the Iranian regime should adopt different methods if its behavior is making Iranians hate Islam. He blamed himself, the Iranian government, the mosques, the religious scholars, and Iran's broadcasting authority for the current situation in Iran, and he argued that it is impossible to make people religious by force. Amini's death has sparked widespread protests in Iran (see MEMRI TV Clips No. 9833 and No. 9837).
Masoud Pezeshkian: "I am extending my condolences to the family of Ms. Amini, who died.
"A law was written to provide guidance. The goal of this law is to improve chastity and modesty. We need to examine whether our intervention has made things better or worse. If it has made things worse, we should stop.
"We want our children to be modest, but if our behavior makes them hate our religion, we should at the very least refrain from continuing with this method.
"Before our regime became Islamic, I could have easily defended our religion and faith. Today I cannot defend them."
"What can I possibly justify? After 40 years of this society, our children were supposed to be good from the scientific, behavioral, and moral perspectives. They have been raised by us, not by the Americans. We have had control of the broadcasting authority, the mosques, the schools, the universities... We have been everywhere.
"But now, things have become the way they are. Whose fault is this? Ours or theirs? It is our fault.
"We want to implement religious faith through the use of force. This is scientifically impossible.
"It is our fault. It is my fault too. At the end of the day, we have established a certain framework, and the outcome is that we have caused trouble for the people from the perspective of Islam, society, and the economy."
Host: "Thank you..."
Masoud Pezeshkian: "And then we curse other people. The blame is ours, and nobody else's. We failed to educate them the way we should. I bear part of the blame, the distinguished religious scholars and the mosques bear part of the blame, and the [Iranian] broadcasting authority bears part of the blame. Everybody should step forward and be held accountable, rather than capture that girl, beat her up, and eventually deliver her body (to her family)."