| 2 October 2023, Monday |

Khamenei keen on meeting with baloch notables ahead of protests anniversary

The representative of Iranian supreme leader in the southeastern Baluchistan province invited the notables of the Sunni-majority region to meet with Ali Khamenei in Tehran.

The invitation was sent three weeks before the first anniversary of the killing of dozens of protesters, during unrest in the city of Zahedan, the capital of the province, which borders Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The official IRNA news agency quoted Reza Sharifi, assistant for security affairs to the governor of Baluchistan, as saying that around 2,000 Sunni and Shiite notables in the province are set to travel to Tehran to meet with Khamenei. Reports said that the meeting would take place within days.

The announcement came at time when Khamenei’s representative, Mostafa Mohami, held meetings, in an attempt to persuade the province’s officials, including Baloch tribal leaders and clerics, to accept the invitation to visit Tehran.

Local websites quoted Mohami as saying that Khamenei and the government of President Ebrahim Raisi “pay great attention to the province and the (economic) activities taking place there.”

He added: “We must maintain security and deepen unity,” warning of the repercussions of the “security outlook” on “investment, urban and economic activities.”

Meanwhile, reports said that the internet service in the city of Zahedan was cut off during the hours of Friday prayers, a measure that the authorities resorted to as part of the restrictions imposed on the city’s Friday imam, Abdolhamid Ismaeelzahi.

Ismaeelzahi has been harshly critical of senior officials since the killing of a large number of demonstrators during the protests that erupted after the death of the young woman, Mahsa Amini, last September.

  • Asharq Al-Awsat