Iran: Top cleric leads prayers for rain

An Iranian woman holds an umbrella

A water shortage in Iran has become so acute that one of the country's leading ayatollahs has called on people to pray for rain, it's been reported.

In a sermon marking the Eid Al-Adha religious festival, Ayatollah Mohammad-Ali Movahedi Kermani asked for prayers for rain to be performed at every mosque in Iran, the state-run IRNA news agency reports. Kermani, who is one of the country's leading clerics, told the congregation at Tehran University that "such prayers should be performed by the righteous and the believers without sinners being present".

Drought and water shortages are current affecting eastern, southern and central Iran, with the government investing in projects to transport desalinated water from the Persian Gulf. The country is also contemplating importing water from Tajikistan and Afghanistan, while researchers will attempt to seed clouds to encourage rain, IRNA reports.

However, the power of prayer may not be enough to bring rain to Iran, with the BBC weather forecast for the coming week predicting that the dry spell is to continue over Tehran.

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