TEHRAN: A senior Iranian cleric has claimed that dolled-up women incite extramarital sex, causing more earthquakes in Iran, a country that straddles several fault lines, newspapers reported on Saturday.
"Many women who dress inappropriately ... cause youths to go astray, taint their chastity and incite extramarital sex in society, which increases earthquakes," Ayatollah Kazem Sedighi told worshippers at Tehran Friday prayer.
"Calamities are the result of people's deeds," he was quoted as saying by reformist Aftab-e Yazd newspaper. "We have no way but conform to Islam to ward off dangers."
The Islamic dress code is mandatory in Iran, which has been under clerical rule for more than three decades.
Every post-pubescent woman regardless of her religion or nationality must cover her hair and bodily contours in public. Offenders face punishment and fine.
But this has not stopped urban women from appearing in the streets wearing tight coats and flimsy headscarves and layers of skilfully applied makeup.
Iran is prone to frequent quakes, many of which have been devastating.
The worst in recent times hit the southern city of Bam in December 2003, killing 31,000 people - about a quarter of the population - and destroying its ancient mud-built citadel.