Shia cleric shot dead in Iran’s southeast: State media

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Unknown gunmen shot dead a Shia cleric in southeastern Iran on Thursday, state media reported, as the Islamic Republic continued to grapple with anti-regime protests.

Sajjad Shahraki, a Shia cleric and Friday prayer leader of a mosque in the city of Zahedan in Sistan-Baluchestan province, was shot dead by armed men, state news agency IRNA reported, citing the province’s police chief.

Efforts are underway to identify and arrest the perpetrators, IRNA cited him as saying.

Iran’s military has in the past clashed with Sunni militants in Sistan-Baluchestan, which is mostly populated by Sunni ethnic Baluchis, a minority in predominantly Shia Iran.

Security forces killed at least 66 people, including children, and injured hundreds of others in a crackdown after Friday prayers in Zahedan on September 30, Amnesty International said earlier this month.

It was the deadliest incident in the unrest that erupted on September 16 after the death in custody of Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman detained by Tehran’s morality police for allegedly not complying with the regime’s strict hijab rules.

Protests continued across Iran on Thursday, footage circulating on social media showed.

At least 277 people, including 40 children and 24 women, have been killed in the protests, Oslo-based rights group Iran Human Rights (IHR) said on Wednesday.

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