Powerful Iranian cleric killed in attack — state media

Ayatollah Abbas Ali Soleimani, member of 88-strong Assembly of Experts responsible for selecting supreme leader, said killed in armed attack; assailant arrested

Ayatollah Abbas Ali Soleimani, January 21, 2020. (Wikimedia Commons; CC BY 4.0)
Ayatollah Abbas Ali Soleimani, January 21, 2020. (Wikimedia Commons; CC BY 4.0)

TEHRAN, Iran — A powerful Iranian cleric, a member of the Assembly of Experts that selects the country’s supreme leader, has been killed in an armed attack, state media said Wednesday.

“Ayatollah Abbas Ali Soleimani was killed this morning in an armed attack… the assailant was also arrested,” IRNA news agency reported, citing an official.

The attack took place in the city of Babolsar in the northern province of Mazandaran, the agency added.

Soleimani, 75, was previously the representative of the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

He had also been the imam who led the weekly Friday prayers in the cities of Kashan, in central Isfahan province, and Zahedan in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan.

Under the constitution, the 88-strong Assembly of Experts is mandated with supervising, dismissing and electing the Supreme Leader.

Last April, a suspected jihadist attack in the northeastern shrine city of Mashhad led to the deaths of two clerics and the injury of another.

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