Aide to Sunni cleric arrested in Iran’s Zahedan for ‘manipulating’ public opinion

Iran’s top Sunni cleric Molavi Abdolhamid. (Screengrab/YouTube)

An aide to Sunni Muslim cleric Molavi Abdolhamid, an influential leader of Iran’s ethnic Baluchi minority, was arrested in the restive southeastern city of Zahedan late Monday, state media said.

Abdolmajid Moradzehi was accused of “manipulating public opinion” and “communicating on several occasions with foreign individuals and media outlets,” the official IRNA news agency said.

Zahedan is the capital of Sistan-Baluchistan province, which is home to the ethnic Baluch minority and had been the site of often deadly violence even before nationwide protests erupted in September over the death in custody of 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini.

On September 30 last year, dozens of people, including members of the security forces, were killed when thousands took to the streets after Friday prayers at the city’s Makki mosque, headed by Abdolhamid.

They were protesting the alleged rape of a 15-year-old-girl in custody in the port city of Chabahar by a local police commander.

As the protests raged on for weeks and months, Iranian officials were critical of Abdolhamid, describing his prayer sermons as “provocative.”

“If there were no provocative remarks in the sermons, we would have seen peace in Zahedan,” Iran’s deputy Interior Minister Majid Mirahmadi said in late October when asked about the persistent unrest.

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About Joel Cholo Brooks 14065 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.
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