Iran’s Prosecutor General Mohammad-Jafar Montazeri said “a bunch of thugs” have caused the “unfortunate incident”, referring to the recent clash between police forces and a number of rioters claiming to be affiliated with Gonabadi Dervishes, a Sufi community in Iran.
Three police forces and two Basijis were killed during the clash in Tehran’s Pasdaran neighbourhood. A huge funeral was held for them on Thursday, which was attended by thousands of people.
“A number of elements – who were portraying themselves as Dervish affiliates but in fact were using the title as a cover – were behind the attacks,” ISNA quoted Montazeri as saying.
He vowed the judiciary will deal with the perpetrators decisively, as protecting the people’s security is of utmost importance to the system.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli has defended the Dervish community, describing them as “logical people” who were not supportive of acts of violence.
“Definitely, violations by a few people from this community should not be attributed to all Dervishes”, Rahmani Fazli told reporters after a Cabinet meeting Wednesday, in remarks that seemingly contradicted Montazeri’s narrative of the incident.
The clash came after an illegal gathering in front of a police station in northern Tehran turned violent. The protesters were demanding the release of some of their friends who had been arrested on unclear charges.
Police said more than 300 people were arrested in the violence, during which the attackers also damaged public property and smashed the windows of nearby houses.
One of the Basiji forces was killed in a car ramming and another lost his life in a knife attack, after three police forces were killed in a bus attack by the agitators. The violence also left 30 policemen and a number of attackers injured.