Iranian authorities, Sufi leader move toward reconciliation

Al-Monitor- Iran’s moderate President Hassan Rouhani reacted Feb. 21 to the recent flaring of tensions between Gonabadi dervishes and security forces, saying he will not tolerate any violent behavior toward law enforcement officers.

Clashes between dervishes and security forces in Tehran reached a climax Feb. 19, when a supporter of the Gonabadi order reportedly rammed riot police with a bus, killing three officers. Two members of the Basij militia were also killed in separate but related incidents — one was rammed by a car while the other was stabbed to death.

The clashes led to the arrests of 300 dervishes and left 30 officers injured. According to some reports, three dervishes were also killed — though this was later denied by the semi-official ISNA news agency.

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