The head of Iran’s police has attacked Western countries for giving gay people rights and criticised opponents of Sharia Law.

Speaking at Friday prayer service in Tehran last week, General Ismail Ahmadi Moghadam said that nations that tolerate homosexuality “challenge God’s law and deny spirituality.”

There has recently been crackdown on “moral crime” in the Islamic republic.

Iranian police and militia known as basiji have launched a nationwide operation against people they accuse of deviating from official standards of dress or behaviour.

General Moghadam told the semi-official Mehr News Agency in April that law enforcement agents detained 150,000 people during the campaign and forced the majority of them to sign “commitment letters,” to observe official dress codes before being released.

The police referred 86 people to the judiciary for prosecution.

“Even if we had some doubts in the early stages of this operation, and some community leaders were concerned about the possible outcomes, today we think everyone agree that those measures were successful,” General Moghadam said on Friday.

The police chief has strong words about Western society’s stance on gay rights, reflecting recent comments from the President of Iran to an American audience.

“This worldview has caused the West to operate like an economic institution, replacing morality, self-sacrifice and generosity with pleasure and having fun,” he said at Friday prayers, according to the semi-independent Iranian News Agency, ISNA.

“They have accepted homosexuality as a value in their societies and then ask our President why homosexuality, immorality and consuming alcohol is not legal in Iran.

“These phenomena are embedded in the West.”

In September Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s said in reply to a question posed about homosexuality during his speech at New York’s Columbia University:

“In Iran we don’t have homosexuals like in your country… In Iran we do not have this phenomenon, I don’t know who has told you that we have it.”

Presidential media adviser Mohammad Kalhor later clarified the statement.

“What Ahmadinejad said was not a political answer. He said that, compared to American society, we don’t have many homosexuals.”

General Moghadam also attacked critics of Sharia law in Iran.

“There are those who take advantage of the freedom of expression in Iran, using their poisonous pens to attack Islamic punishments as inhumane regulations that have prevented Iran from being accepted in the international community.”

In August a newspaper, Shargh, was shut down for printing an interview with a lesbian poet, Saghi Ghahreman.

In July 2005, two gay teenagers, Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni were executed sparking protests around the world.