RFL/RE – Sunni clerics of the southern Iranian province of Sistan and Baluchistan have released a video calling on authorities of the Islamic republic to stop a deadly crackdown on protests that has “no justificiation.”
The video, released on November 29, shows the signatories of the statement together in a mosque.
According to the statement, the Sunni clerics of the southeastern Iranian cities of Khash, Taftan, and Mirjaveh were united in their stance with regional elders and cultural figures in condemning the repression of “Bloody Friday” in Zahedan and Khash as a sign of “national solidarity.”
During the Bloody Friday massacre in the southeastern city of Zahedan on September 30, almost 100 people were killed and hundreds injured by security forces during protests sparked by the death of a 22-year-old woman while in custody of the morality police and the alleged rape of a 15-year-old girl by a local police commander.
At least 96 protesters were reportedly killed in the violence, with more than 300 others injured.
The Sunni clerics announced in their statement that “the killing of people in Zahedan and Khash, and in our beloved Kurdistan, and in other parts of Iran, has no justification and is completely condemned.”
Earlier this month, top Iranian Sunni cleric Molavi Abdulhamid, who is regarded as a spiritual leader for Iran’s Sunni Muslim population, said senior officials, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, were “responsible” for the killing of protesters in Zahedan and called for an immediate referendum with the presence of international observers to “change policies based on the wishes of the people.”
Anger over Mahsa Amini’s death has prompted thousands of Iranians to take to the streets to demand more freedoms and women’s rights. The widespread demonstrations represent the biggest threat to the Islamic government since the 1979 revolution.
The activist HRANA news agency said that as of November 23 at least 445 protesters had been killed during the unrest, including 61 minors, as security forces try to stifle widespread dissent.