Suspect arrested in cleric murder  

May 29, 2019

TEHRAN – Law enforcement forces have arrested a suspect for the lethal stabbing of a cleric in the southern Fars province, local news outlets reported on Wednesday.

Cleric Mohammad Khorsand, the Friday prayer leader of Kazeroon, was killed while on his way to home from a religious ceremony on Wednesday morning.

He was attacked at 3:30, said Kavous Mohammadi, the provincial deputy police chief for social affairs.

The arrest came hours after the killing, Fars reported.

It identified the suspect as Hamid Darakhshandeh. It did not provide further information and did not say anything about the possible motive for the attack.

It was the second deadly attack on a cleric in the past several weeks. In April, a cleric was shot dead in the western city of Hamadan.

Kazeroon was the scene of large-scale protests and clashes between citizens and security forces on May 16-17, 2018.

A controversial proposal to divide the ancient city’s boundaries into two separate entities enraged Kazeroon residents who poured into the streets and invaded the Friday Prayers location.

Fars reported at the time that the demonstration was organized on the social networking platform Telegram.

Etemad Online also wrote at the time that a local MP, who tabled the motion for new demarcation of Kazeroon, wanted to promote his hometown Qaemieh, to a “city.”

However, the Friday Prayer Imam of the city was vehemently against the division.

At least one person died during the protests, and dozens detained. The unrest culminated in a massive rally in front of the Intelligence Ministry’s local office on May 16, 2018.

SP/PA

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