WANA (JAN 7) – Iran’s conservative politician and former diplomat Mohammad-Javad Larijani claimed that Iranian religious leader of Sunni Baloch people Mawlavi Abdul Hamid is promoting the plans of enemies of the country.


The recent positions of Mawlavi Abdulhamid Ismail Zahi, the highest Sunni authority in Iran, has sparked different responses. During the recent nationwide protests, the Friday Prayer Imam of Makki Mosque in Zahedan, Mawlavi Abdul Hamid has stepped up his criticism of the Iranian government.


Speaking to an Iranian conservative website, Mohammad-Javad Larijani, an adviser to the Iranian Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in foreign affairs and secretary of High Council for Human rights, referred to the latest remarks made by Mawlavi Abdul Hamid and said: “We are not basically after fueling religious conflicts, but he (Mawlavi Abdul Hamid) lacks appropriate knowledge of religious jurisprudence and constantly provokes foreign countries and religious sects.”

Molavi Abdolhamid, Iran's Sunni Cleric - Social Media / WANA News Agency

Molavi Abdolhamid, Iran’s Sunni Cleric – Social Media / WANA News Agency

Larijani and his like-minded associates say Abdul Hamid, who is also the director of the Jamiah Darul Uloom of Zahedan, the main seminary in the city considers the execution of rioters who committed murder during the recent protests is against Sharia and calls on the government to practice self-restraint. He speaks of freedom of speech and women’s right in the society. From their view, such statements are superficial and simply in line with supporting the riots.


They say that basically, Mawlavi Abdul Hamid does not believe in freedom of speech and women’s right, and his tough statements in recent months are not out of compassion for the victims or the promotion of legitimate freedoms and democracy, but he has rather taken such stances at the behest of Saudi Arabia and foreign intelligent services.


They add that observing his jurisprudential statements and views over the past years shows that the restrictions he has created for Sunni women to participate in social arenas are contrary to his recent claims. Abdul Hamid, who seems to be in line with the Taliban and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) or Daesh actually is not authorized to speak about women’s freedom, freedom of speech, and human rights.

Mohammad Javad Larijani, Iranian prominent Political Analyst. Social Media / WANA News Agency

Mohammad Javad Larijani, Iranian prominent Political Analyst. Social Media / WANA News Agency

Having said that, he, however he has recently changed his position on Taliban and criticized them for banning Afghan girls from education saying: “You [Taliban] on which decree of Sharia prevented girls from education? Who has told you [Taliban] to deprive girls of education?”


An advocate of the reform movement in Iran during all periods, including the presidency terms of Mohammad Khatami and Hassan Rouhani (former, the leader of the reformist front and president and the latter, a moderate politician and former president of Iran), Mawlavi Abdul Hamid, received the best advantages from the government for the promotion and expansion of Sunni power in Iran.


It is true that Messrs. Khatami and Rouhani played a key role in bestowing him political status and he owes his political career to the support provided by the governments of these two former presidents.


However, it is worth mentioning that in the latest presidential election in Iran which was held in June 2021, Mawlavi Abdul Hamid endorsed the incumbent president Ebrahim Raisi who is in the same political camp to which Mohammad-Javad Larijani belongs.


Due to Mawlavi Abdul Hamid’s recent stances particularly on backing protests, some officials inside Iran have tended to confront him. They say that the Islamic Republic system is too tolerant of him and the foreign supporters of his positions. The opposition movement of the Islamic Republic system, that is, those who seek to overthrow the regime, also support his stances. The reformists inside Iran have yet to react to his statements.

Maulvi Abdul Hamid next to the former president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani - Social Media / WANA News Agency

Maulvi Abdul Hamid next to the former president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani – Social Media / WANA News Agency

Mohammad Javad Larijani, as someone who has monitored Mawlavi’s statements and actions during the past three decades calls for a more serious response from the government towards his actions.


“I believe, there is a need today for the revolutionary front to put the compliments aside and react to Abdul Hamid more directly; he cannot live inside Iran and say that I am Iranian, but promote the policies of Iran’s enemies in the country,” Larijani said.


Larijani believes that the Islamic Republic of Iran has set up many services to Sistan and Baluchestan province. He says: “Before the revolution, they didn’t provide birth certificates for their women and they weren’t considered as children of Iran. The Islamic Republic sent women to school in this province and built a university for them. The best universities in the country were established in Sistan and Baluchestan province. A hospital was built in this province and many facilities were provided for the people of that region.


The toughest part of Larijani’s attacks on Mawlavi Abdul Hamid comes when he regards him as “the enemy of women in Sistan and Baluchestan region” and believes those who support Mawlavi Abdul Hamid do not respect women.


Makki Mosque in Zahedan is the largest Sunni mosque in Iran. Some claim that Saudi Arabia provided financial support for the construction of such a beautiful mosque. Certainly, no one in Iran has provided a proof for this allegation, but there are several questions on the reasons for the establishment of this particular mosque. Why did it have to be built with such a high cost, and where did its budget come from as well as who paid for its construction for what purposes?

Molavi Abdolhamid, Iran's Sunni Cleric - Social Media / WANA News Agency

Molavi Abdolhamid, Iran’s Sunni Cleric – Social Media / WANA News Agency

In the same interview, Larijani compares Makki Mosque to Masjid al-Dirar (a mosque where some people conspired against Muslims and the Prophet during the time of Prophet Muhammad). “Stinking words come out from there, while Islamic words do not come out; the words of those who conspire against Islam outside the borders come out of this mosque.” Larijani stated.


Larijani recent statements have provoked the advocates of Mawlavi Abdul Hamid. A Sunni lawmaker in The Islamic Consultative Assembly (Iran’s parliament) considered Larijani’s words as “nonsense” and said, “At the moment, the country needs peace, reconciliation and brotherhood. Do not break the heart of Balochestan again with your idiocy!”


In his speeches, Maulvi Abdul Hamid has never desired the separation of Sistan and Baluchestan from Iran, but some Islamic Republic statesmen believe that all  his recent actions follow such a goal, which is, the independence of Sistan and Baluchestan.


Larijani responded to this issue as well and said: “Sistan and Baluchistan cannot be detached from Iran. The Islamic Republic is so strong and the enemy cannot even separate an inch of our land and does not dare to do so.”