An Iranian member of parliament has accused Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s handpicked Friday prayer leader in the southwestern city Kazerun, Iran – where protests continued for a fifth day Monday – of fueling unrest there.
“The source of the recent protests in Kazerun is where Friday Prayer is held,” MP Hossein Rezazadeh, who is the Iranian Parliament’s representative from Kazerun, said of mid-ranking cleric Mohammad Khorsand. According to Radio Farda, Razazdeh added that Khorsand was “provoking people to rebellion.” He said, “The plan to divide Kazerun has been on the table for 25 years. The city’s former MPs repeatedly promised to implement the plan but never fulfilled it.”
At least three people perished in the protests. Radio Farda noted that “locals on social media and those who have risked speaking to the media outside Iran despite government interception of communication lines put the casualty toll much higher.”
Radio Farda noted that Rezazadeh then accused an unnamed Tehran-based official from the country’s Interior Ministry of sending messages to Kazerun’s residents, telling them to pour into the streets and protest so they could make international headlines.
The publication also reported that a local website cited Rezazadeh as saying, “I am after what the people of the district [Qa’emeyyeh] have demanded and, whether some like it or not, I will follow up on the case.”
Last month, Radio Farda acquired footage showing people in Kazerun chanting slogans against Rezazadeh. “We take refuge in God from the treacherous MP,” they said. “We will slay whoever commits treason,” was another slogan they chanted while reportedly describing Iran’s state-run radio and TV as “our source of shame.”