Anger in Tehran after Abduction of Son of Prominent Shirazi Cleric

Anger in Tehran after Abduction of Son of Prominent Shirazi Cleric

Saturday, 10 March, 2018 - 07:15
Protesters rallied outside the Iranian embassy in London against the arrest of the son of a prominent Shi'ite cleric. (Getty Images)
Kuwait - Asharq Al-Awsat
Protests against Iranian authorities erupted in Kuwait, Iraq and London after Iranian intelligence attacked the convoy of prominent Shi’ite cleric Sadegh Hossein Shirazi and later arrested his son, Hossein, on Wednesday.

Clan leaders in Iraq, including the Bodrag clan, pleaded with Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to release Hossein, accusing him with being behind his abduction.

Shirazi enjoys Shi’ite followers in the Gulf and Iraq’s Karbala, the place of origin of the Shirazi family. The Shirazis are one of the Shi’ite authorities that enjoy clout among Arab Shi’ites and they act in relative independence from Iranian powers and they have repeatedly been oppressed by Iranian authorities.

Iranian intelligence had in February summoned Hossein Shirazi after he gave a lecture to dozens of students about the Vilayet al-Faqih principle, which he linked to imposing a dictatorship under the pretext of religion.

He also compared Khamenei to ancient Egyptian Pharaohs, prompting authorities to order his arrest.

After a lengthy investigation, Hossein Shirazi was released, but arrested again on Wednesday.

Shirazi’s office said that an intelligence patrol had intercepted the cleric’s convoy, which was also escorting his son Hossein, as he was returning from his studies. The authorities arrested Hossein after humiliating and threatening to taser him.

The demeaning arrest angered Shirazi’s followers, prompting the protests.

A witness in London, said that one of the demonstrators tried to storm the Iranian embassy to condemn the arrest.

The Iranian foreign ministry acknowledged the protests in front of its embassy in London, refuting however claims that the building had been occupied.

A spokesman said that so-called assailants had only managed to climb the embassy’s balcony, calling on British police to perform their duties to protect Iranian diplomatic missions and arrest the attackers.

An aide at the foreign ministry filed a complaint to the British ambassador over the unrest.

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