Action memorandum 026 - Nov. 11, 1996

Subject: Another Sunnite cleric murdered in Balouchistan

Another Sunnite cleric has been murdered in Iranian Balouchistan,sources in the region reported, apparently as part of an ongoingeffort by Tehran to intimidate the Balouchis and other minoritySunnite groups.

The cleric, Molavi Abdulaziz Kazemi, was a teacher at theUniversity of Sistan and Balouchistan in Zahedan, and was kidnappedat 7 PM on Nov. 5, sources close to his family told FDI, as he wasleaving his university office. Two days later, his bullet-ridden bodywas found 15 kilometers outside Zahedan, on the main highway leadingtoward Birjand. It was identified by family members.

Kazemi was a known political activist who had called on Tehran torespect the rights of ethnic and religious minorities in Iran. Familymembers say he had been targeted by the regime because he had builtup a power base in the Zahedan region. He was working on a Ph.D. fromSistan and Balouchistan university at the time of his death.

Several other Sunnite clerics have been assassinated in recentmonths inside Iran and in Pakistan. They include Molavi Abdul-MalekMollahzadeh, who was gunned down with an aide outside his Karachihome on March 4, 1996, and Molavi Ahmad Sayyad, whose mutilated bodywas found on the outskirts of Bandar Abbas on Feb. 2, 1996, afterfamily members claimed he was abducted at the Bandar Abbas airport byMOIS agents. (See FDI Action Memoranda 007 of Feb. 15, 1996 and 008of March 3, 1996)

Mollahzadeh, Sayyad, and Kazemi had all received religioustraining in Saudi Arabia. Kazemi graduated with a Bachelor of Artsdegree from Medina University in Saudi Arabia, then took an MA fromTehran University. He was born in Khorassan province.