When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing. save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

Iranian Regime Facing "Unprecedented" Street Attacks Against Clerics

A spate of recent attacks in Iran on clerics, seminarians and even state agents are prompting some to self-defense classes, while others are holing up inside.

Image of a man reading the Qu'uran after praying

Man reading the Qu'uran after praying.


Iran's mullahs, or the Shia jurists usually seen in flowing robes and turban, may be in charge of Iran, but they're increasingly hesitant to tread its streets.

Their fears follow a recent spate of attacks on regime supporters including a gun killing, possibly related to public anger with the Islamic regime and its violent suppression of mass protests late in 2022 .

On May 1, the judiciary chief Gholam Hussein Mohseni-Ejei urged a swift and firm response, while another cleric, former intelligence minister Ali Fallahian, advised those mullahs preaching at Friday congregational prayers to take self-defense classes.

The incidents include the shooting death on April 26 of a senior cleric, Abbas Ali Suleimani, in a bank in the northern city of Babolsar, one of several attempts to run over clerics or seminarians, a Basiji militiaman killed in Sabzevar in north-eastern Iran and a police commander shot dead in Saravan in the province of Sistan-Baluchestan, on April 30. On May 6, another mullah was reported as stabbed and injured in the district of Ahmadabad in the central Markazi province.

Image of people walking in a street in the city of Qom, Iran.

A street in the city of Qom, Iran.


Payback time

London-based broadcaster Iran International observed that Suleimani, a former member of the Assembly of Experts, a clerical body, was thought to have been involved in mass prison killings in the late 1980s.

We've never seen days like this in Qom.

One senior theologian, Ayatollah Muhammad Javad Alavi-Borujerdi, said the attacks were "unprecedented," deploring a "gap has opened between the people and ourselves ... We've never seen days like this in Qom, with people trying to run over a seminarian and then getting out of the car to complete their work with knives."

He said that in some towns, clerics hadn't left home for two months now.

Assuming the incidents were not private or simply criminal in nature, they indicate a seething anger and hatred of the regime that has far from subsided since the suppression of the 2022 protests . But they are not easily clarified, and the state has little interest in truth-telling.

Image of \u200bIranian Shia cleric Abbas-Ali Soleimani.

Iranian Shia cleric Abbas-Ali Soleimani.

Mohammad Houti For

Eye for an eye

Whatever the details, such incidents are always a pretext for a response. The conservative Tehran paper Kayhan — an informal mouthpiece of the supreme leader — warned they were part of an organized bid to foment "hatred and fear" around public servants.

Another paper, Vatan-e Emruz , blamed the police officer's death in Saravan on followers of a prominent Sunni cleric of Sistan-Baluchestan, Abdul Hamid Ismailzahi, who has bitterly criticized the regime since the protests of 2022 . His sermons, it observed, were undermining security forces in the province.

A crackdown was already underway in this part of Iran. The authorities were reported on May 4 to have hanged 19 prisoners in the Sistan-Baluchestan province in the previous five days.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.


Violence Against Women, The Patriarchy And Responsibility Of The Good Men Too

The femicide of Giulia Cecchettin has shaken Italy, and beyond. Argentine journalist Ignacio Pereyra looks at what lies behind femicides and why all men must take more responsibility.

A protester's sign referring to the alleged killer reads: Filippo isn't a monster, he's the healthy son of the patriarchy

Matteo Nardone/Pacific Press via ZUMA Press
Ignacio Pereyra

Updated Dec. 3, 2023 at 10:40 p.m.


ATHENS — Are you going to write about what happened in Italy?, Irene, my partner, asks me. I have no idea what she's talking about. She tells me: a case of femicide has shaken the country and has been causing a stir for two weeks.

As if the fact in itself were not enough, I ask what is different about this murder compared to the other 105 women murdered this year in Italy (or those that happen every day around the world).

For the latest news & views from every corner of the world, Worldcrunch Today is the only truly international newsletter. Sign up here .

We are talking about a country where the expression "fai l'uomo" (be a man) abounds, with a society so prone to drama and tragedy and so fond of crime stories as few others, where the expression "crime of passion" is still mistakenly overused.

In this context, the sister of the victim reacted in an unexpected way for a country where femicide is not a crime recognized in the penal code, contrary to what happens, for example, in almost all of Latin America.

Keep reading... Show less

The latest