I just came across this story.
Leave it to Iran to show just how far idiocy and savagery can be promoted in a modern dictatorship.
Ahmadinejad allies charged with sorcery
Iranian power struggle between president and supreme leader sees arrests and claims of undue influence of chief of staff
by Saeed Kamali Dehghan
5 May 2011
From the article:
I'm just as glad to see Ahmadinejad's power weakening as anyone, but there is something really creepy about this news story. Enforcing religious compliance under the law is backward, but nowhere near the return to the barbarian level of formally prosecuting a witch or sorcerer for practicing The Dark Arts.
Close allies of Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have been accused of using supernatural powers to further his policies amid an increasingly bitter power struggle between him and the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Several people said to be close to the president and his chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, have been arrested in recent days and charged with being "magicians" and invoking djinns (spirits).
Ayandeh, an Iranian news website, described one of the arrested men, Abbas Ghaffari, as "a man with special skills in metaphysics and connections with the unknown worlds".
. . .
On Sunday, Ahmadinejad returned to his office after an 11-day walkout in an apparent protest over Khamenei's reinstatement of the intelligence minister, who the president had initiallyasked to resign.
. . .
But the feud has taken a metaphysical turn following the release of an Iranian documentary alleging the imminent return of the Hidden Imam Mahdi – the revered saviour of Shia Islam, whose reappearance is anticipated by believers in a manner comparable to that with which Christian fundamentalists anticipate the second coming of Jesus.
Conservative clerics, who say that the Mahdi's return cannot be predicted, have accused a "deviant current" within the president's inner circle, including Mashaei, of being responsible for the film.
Ahmadinejad's obsession with the hidden imam is well known. He often refers to him in his speeches and in 2009 said that he had documentary evidence that the US was trying to prevent Mahdi's return.
Since Ahmadinejad's return this week, at least 25 people, who are believed to be close to Mashaei, have been arrested. Among them is Abbas Amirifar, head of the government's cultural committee and some journalists of Mashaei's recently launched newspaper, Haft-e-Sobh.
This reminds me or a quote from Ayn Rand (From "The Left: Old and New" in The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution, now called The Return of the Primitive):
The story above looks exactly like what we are seeing, but with a magic lantern instead of a horoscope.
Would you find it amusing if you saw the same Attila balancing a nuclear bomb in the palm of his hand and consulting the astrologer on whether to toss it'?