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Why Iranian Sufis Do Not Believe in Tehran’s ‘New Diplomacy’

1:34 PM, Jan 6, 2014 • By STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
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Kasra Nouri was arrested in January 2013 and rearrested in March. In April, Nouri was sentenced to four years and four months behind bars for his involvement with the Gonabadi website. An appeals court reaffirmed the judgment at the end of August.

With 2013 coming to a close, on December 30, IOPHRI announced that the families of four more Sufis held in Adel Abad prison in Shiraz, in connection with the Kavar events, had refused to post bail for them. The defendants are Seyed Ebrahim Bahrami, Mohammad-Ali Sadeghi, Mohammad-Ali Dehghan, and Mohsen Esmaili. Their trial, which began in November 2013, was suspended until January 7. Early in December, Majzooban Noor stated that Bahrami’s health was deteriorating, with internal bleeding, and that his medical problems were being ignored by prison officials.

Forty Gonabadi Sufis issued a public letter on December 30 protesting the failure of the “Special Clerical Court” in Shiraz to act against Shahbazi and Ghaemi. The Gonabadis claim that more than 100 Sufis from Kavar have been arrested, assaulted, and tried in violation of legal procedures.

Meanwhile, in Tehran, Shiraz, Khorramshahr, and other cities, Gonabadi Sufis and their families remain the targets of threats, interrogation by intelligence agents, and other persecution. Their plight is eloquent evidence that regardless of its global peace rhetoric, the Iranian clerical tyranny has not fulfilled Rouhani’s pledge of change.

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