A representative of Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has used his visit to the eastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan to criticize the behavior of some Sunni clerics during ongoing protests against the country’s Shia clerical regime.
"They pick up the enemy's words and speak about women and different topics," cleric Mohammed-Javad Hajali-Akbari said on November 15 in Zahedan, the restive provincial capital.
"In the recent incidents in the province, those who threw water into the enemy's mill by tweeting and making inappropriate and provocative speeches should be held accountable."
Akbari was heading a delegation sent to the province to meet with the families of the security forces killed in Zahedan during nationwide unrest triggered by the September death of a 22-year-old woman in the custody of Tehran’s morality police.
Several Sunni clerics in Sistan and Baluchestan have called on people to take to the streets over the past weeks.
Early this month, the Friday prayer leader in Zahedan, Molavi Abdol Hamid, called on Iran’s Shia clerical leadership to organize a referendum.
"The majority of people aren’t happy. Hold a referendum in the presence of international observers, and accept the result," he said.
Zahedan was the scene of a violent crackdown on September 30 in which security forces killed 92 people, including 12 children. Four security forces were also killed that day, dubbed Zahedan’s Black Friday.
Sistan and Baluchistan borders Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is one of Iran’s poorest provinces and home to a Sunni Baluch minority estimated to number up to 2 million people.