Iranian security prohibits Sunnis from performing Eid prayers in Tehran

Jul 07
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Asharq Al-Awsat
Thursday, 7 July 2016

London-Iranian security personnel prevented Wednesday Sunni worshippers from attending mosque prayers in Tehran.

Member of Iran’s Parliament Mahmoud Sadeghi was quoted by IRNA news agency as saying that 18 parliamentarians had presented a warning to Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli after the closure of a Sunni mosque in Eslamshahr, west of Tehran.

Sadeghi said that the 18 parliamentarians had presented the letter to the interior minister, based on Article 12 of the Iranian Constitution, while IRNA reported that Parliament did not read the letter for lack of time.

Sadeghi said: “These violations contradict the Shi’ite-Sunni unity that is always stressed by the supreme leader.”

Iran’s Human Rights Agency Hrana quoted informed sources as saying that the Iranian security forces had raided a mosque northwest of Tehran, on the eve of Eid Al-Fitr and had prevented worshippers from performing their religious duties.

The agency reported that security personnel wearing civilian uniforms had attacked worshippers and had prevented them from entering the mosque. According to witnesses, the security personnel had also arrested a number of worshippers before releasing them in fear of creating popular disturbances in the area.

Sadeghi also said that the authorities had prevented worshippers from attending other Sunni mosques, including the TehranPars Mosque, north the capital.

Meanwhile, security tension returned on Wednesday to Baluchistan in southeast Iran, a week following battles between the Iranian security forces and local opposition groups, while Baluchistan’s “Army of Justice” had announced causing casualties in the ranks of the Revolutionary Guards.

Iranian news agencies quoted Police Spokesman Saeed Montazer al-Mahdi as saying that four IRGC border guards were killed during battles on the borders with Baluchistan Province.

Al-Mahdi said “the armed men entered the Pakistani territories after exchanging fire with Iranian security personnel,” Mehr news agency reported.

However, head of the Public Relations department at Baluchistan’s Army of Justice movement, Ibrahim Azizi, told Asharq Al-Awsat in a telephone call that the movement had killed seven IRGC soldiers in an ambush near the Iranian border, and asserted hitting two Iranian military vehicles.

Azizi said the movement would later broadcast a video showing Wednesday’s fighting with the Iranian Guards.

He said: “Iran is cutting through ISIS and is the biggest sponsor of terrorism.”

Azizi denied rumors that his movement was linked to Al Qaeda. “We are a group of Sunni youth defending the people and territories of Baluchistan against the policies of the Iranian regime,” he said.

Iran’s Fars news website quoted local sources as saying that clashes took place in Peshin near the city of Sarbaz after armed groups attacked a checkpoint linked to the Iranian border guards.

Iran’s southeastern borders have witnessed a high level of tension in the past few months due to the activities of the Iranian Guards facing Kurdish and Baluchistan opposition armed groups.

Last month, a Baluchistan armed group attacked an Iranian security base in the Khash region. IRNA news agency reported at the time that security forces had stopped an armed group from the Army of Justice that had infiltrated Iranian territories from Pakistan. However, the Army of Justice denied the reports.

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