Unknown gunmen opened fire on the car of a Friday Prayer Imam in the southern city of Mahshahr, in Iran’s oil-rich Khuzestan province Friday evening.
An Iranian news agency says Salman Hashemi is one of the four prayer leaders in the city of petrochemical plants. He represents the religious establishment in the Taleghani part of the city.
Mahshar was the scene of a massacre of protesters by security forces last November during widespread anti-regime unrest in the country.
Every township and city in Iran has an officially appointed Friday Prayer leader, who in the eyes of the people represent the clergy ruling the country. There have been several incidents of attacks and even killings of Friday Prayer Imams.
Reports speak of bullets hitting Hashemi’s car and his office has confirmed the incident, but in a statement it said the cleric was in his office at the time. The office also denied he was the target of any attack and claimed the individuals who opened fire had a personal dispute and the Imam’s car happened to be in the area and was hit.
In Iran the police treats such incidents as national security matters and rarely reveals details or the true results of its own investigation.