The wider the spread of this story, reported using remarkably similar phrasing and poorly-punctuated translation by the BBC, New York Times, Guardian and others, about the Iranian cleric who suggested that immorality could provoke a judgment from god, no shock or horror, through Facebook groups and so on…

…and the more I read the same tiny quotes from what was probably a lengthy sermon which seems, on the basis of the sections I have been able to find, to have used ‘earthquakes’ at least a couple of times as a trope, again, not particularly shocking or horrifying in the context of a religious sermon in a region given to earthquakes (physical and social), or particularly worthy of comment given the sheer eye-swivelling wrong-headedness of the suggestion that actually, physically, promiscuity in women, whatever that means, might cause tectonic plates on the earth to shift (… in fact what the headline should have said was ‘cleric says promiscuity makes god cause earthquakes’ which is a not at all shocking statement for a cleric to make, as noted by “Sabretooth” at LucasForums)…

…the more I grow uneasy that there is some kind of black propaganda at work, perhaps intended to make everyone in Iran seem atavistic, not quite the full shilling, clearly unworthy of being allowed anywhere near fissile material, nay READY to be invaded, perhaps destroyed in order to be saved.

Almost like the misquoted speech from Ahmedinejad about “wiping Israel off the map” was.

I am not in favour of repressive regimes or religious fundamentalism, but neither do I favour one-sided conversations. In fact, my unease is supported by a colleague just then reading the story aloud and suggesting that Ahmedinejad and Sedighi’s quotes were both from Ahmedinejad. Because those mad mullahs all look the same from here, presumably. People get as far as the leading headline and then go off on one.

Full transcript please, and stop trying to wind people up with half a quote.