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Top Iranian cleric gunned down in broad daylight

Ayatollah Abbas Ali Soleimani was a member of the Assembly of Experts, a group of 88 clerics that selects the country’s supreme leader.

Ayatollah Abbas Ali Soleimani. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Ayatollah Abbas Ali Soleimani. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Ayatollah Abbas Ali Soleimani, a high-ranking Iranian cleric, was assassinated on Wednesday at a bank in the city of Babolsar in the northern province of Mazandaran.

He was a member of the Assembly of Experts, a group of 88 clerics that selects the country’s supreme leader, and a former representative who officiated at the provincial level on behalf of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Soleimani was reportedly shot dead while in the financial institution. CCTV footage showed him sitting on a chair, apparently waiting his turn, when the assailant nonchalantly approached him and shot him in the head with what appeared to be a submachine gun.

The governor of Mazandaran, Mahmoud Hosseinipour Nouri, said the attacker was a local man and that “our information and documents indicate that this was not a security or terrorist act.”

The assassin’s motive remained unclear as of Thursday.

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