Senior cleric assassinated in N. Iran

Senior Iranian cleric and member of Iran’s Assembly of Experts Abbas-Ali Soleimani was assassinated on Wednesday in an armed attack in the country’s northern province of Mazandaran, Iran’s official news agency IRNA reported.

Soleimani, 76, was shot by an assailant at a bank in the city of Babolsaron Wednesday morning, IRNA quoted Ruhollah Salgi, the deputy for security and political affairs of Mazandaran provincial governor general, as saying.

The assailant has been arrested by Iranian security forces and is being interrogated, IRNA reported, adding more details will soon be announced.

In an interview with state-owned IRIB TV’s News Network, Mazandaran’s Governor General Mahmoud Hosseinipour ruled out the possibility of a terrorist attack.

According to the information obtained so far and the attacker’s record, the attack is not an act of terror in nature, he said, adding the assailant’s motive remains unknown.

Previously, Soleimani also served as Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s representative in the southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan and the Friday prayer leader of the central city of Kashan. ■

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