World

By opposing police enforcing morality rules, Iran's president pushes back against hard-liners

  • In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a televised speech at the presidency compound in Tehran, Iran, Monday, May 4, 2015. Twice in recent days, including Monday's broadcast speech, Rouhani has made statements rejecting the idea of police officers enforcing morality rules, staking a clear position against hard-liners who largely oppose his outreach to the West. He said police should be responsible to enforce the law, not different interpretations of Islam. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)

    In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a televised speech at the presidency compound in Tehran, Iran, Monday, May 4, 2015. Twice in recent days, including Monday's broadcast speech, Rouhani has made statements rejecting the idea of police officers enforcing morality rules, staking a clear position against hard-liners who largely oppose his outreach to the West. He said police should be responsible to enforce the law, not different interpretations of Islam. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a televised speech at the presidency compound in Tehran, Iran, Monday, May 4, 2015. Twice in recent days, including Monday's broadcast speech, Rouhani has made statements rejecting the idea of police officers enforcing morality rules, staking a clear position against hard-liners who largely oppose his outreach to the West. He said police should be responsible to enforce the law, not different interpretations of Islam. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)

    In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a televised speech at the presidency compound in Tehran, Iran, Monday, May 4, 2015. Twice in recent days, including Monday's broadcast speech, Rouhani has made statements rejecting the idea of police officers enforcing morality rules, staking a clear position against hard-liners who largely oppose his outreach to the West. He said police should be responsible to enforce the law, not different interpretations of Islam. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Iran's president is rejecting the idea of police officers enforcing morality rules, staking a clear position against hard-liners who largely oppose his outreach to the West.

President Hassan Rouhani has made statements opposing the idea twice in recent days, including Monday in a speech broadcast on Iranian state television. He says police should be responsible to enforce the law, not different interpretations of Islam.

Last week, Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, the head of Iran's powerful Assembly of Experts, said the country's executive branch must enforce Islam otherwise the religion will reject it.

The back-and-forth comments come ahead of summer, when hard-liners want women to be veiled to their standards. But it also comes as hard-liners oppose Rouhani's outreach to the West and negotiations with world powers on the country's nuclear program.