London, Asharq Al-Awsat-Two armed gunmen assassinated a Sunni cleric in front of the mosque in which he preached, according to Iranian authorities in the south-eastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan.
The cleric, Molawi Sheikh Ali Dehvari, was killed in the town of Saravan after leaving the mosque on Monday evening by two men who fled the scene on motorcycles. This attack comes amidst several similar attacks against Sunni clerics in the province.
Sunnis in Iran are prohibited from building any mosques, even in areas with a majority Sunni population. The Iranian Ayatollah Ali Taskhiri had claimed last month that there are over 7000 Sunni mosques, and over 37,000 Sunni scholars and students, in Iran supported by the government. Despite these claims, clerics and well-informed sources have revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that Taskhiri’s figures were exaggerated.
Sources have also revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that Sunni imams are currently facing a crackdown in Iran and are unable to deliver lessons or sermons in mosques or elsewhere, except with the express permission of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, and while under observation by the security and intelligence services.