NewsSpecial WireCleric shot dead during sermon in south-east Iran

Cleric shot dead during sermon in south-east Iran

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Iran Focus: Tehran, Iran, Oct. 03 – A cleric was shot dead on Tuesday as he was giving a sermon in the restive province of Sistan-va-Baluchistan, south-east Iran, state media reported on Wednesday. Iran Focus

Tehran, Iran, Oct. 03 – A cleric was shot dead on Tuesday as he was giving a sermon in the restive province of Sistan-va-Baluchistan, south-east Iran, state media reported on Wednesday.

Hojjatolislam Mehdi Tavakoli was gunned down by two men in the city of Khash.

The official news agency IRNA reported that Tavakoli, who had travelled to Khash from the provincial capital Zahedan, was shot dead while giving a prayers sermon.

The two gunmen made away on motorcycles, the government-owned news agency Fars said.

The report in IRNA accused the United States of backing Tavakoli’s killers.

“Last night … terrorists supported by the White House in the city of Khash, in southern Sistan-va-Baluchistan, martyred a cleric”, it said, adding that the U.S. was hoping to create an atmosphere of “fear and terror” in Iran.

In a separate report, IRNA quoted Hojjatolislam Mohammad-Hossein Moussa-Pour, the Interior Ministry’s legal and parliamentary director, as saying, “The assassination of the Shiite cleric … in Khash took place at the hands of mercenaries who were definitely supported by the U.S. spying agencies”.

Iran’s hardline-dominated Majlis, or Parliament, voted on Saturday to designate the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the U.S. Army as “terrorist organisations”.

Sistan-va-Baluchistan Province is home to Baluchis, a predominantly Sunni Muslim ethnic minority.

Iran has witnessed escalating unrest since 2006 in areas populated by Baluchis, who complain of discriminatory and repressive policies by the theocratic regime.

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