There are articles in the Islamic Republic’s Constitution that should be revised, the most prominent Sunni religious leader in Iran has said, noting, “People’s problems and hardship are not limited to economic matters,” Radio Farda reports.
In his Friday speech, January 19, the head of Dar-ul-Uloom (seminary) of Zahedan, Molavi Abdolhamid reiterated, “People are not only under economic pressures; the political and social pressures should be addressed [as well], and all people of Iran should live freely according to the Constitution.”
Zahedan is a predominantly Sunni-Baluch city and Molavi Abdolhamid is also the city’s Friday Prayer Leader. In an earlier speech on January 5, Molavi Abdolhamid had also insisted, “It is necessary to change laws that cannot solve people’s problems and that obstruct solutions.”
The senior Sunni clergyman made the comments while the Islamic Republic experienced the largest protests against its ruling system.
The protests that broke out on December 28 in Shi’ites’ holiest city in Iran, Mashhad and soon spread to more than 100 cities and turned into noisy demonstrations, demanding a regime change. Around twenty-five protesters died and more than 3,700 arrested during the protest.
Referring to people’s complaints, the Zahedan Friday Prayer Leader said, “Unemployment and lack of means to make ends meet are also problems that authorities should address.” Furthermore, he noted, “Freedom of faith which is guaranteed by the constitution and people’s demands should also be respected.”
The prominent Sunni leader cautioned, “Discrimination, based on people’s religion has to end.”
The comment echoed his remarks two weeks earlier, when he said, the Sunnis demand an end to discrimination which they have suffered [for almost] forty years [when the Islamic republic was established].” Apparently, he was referring to Article 12 of the Islamic Republic’s Constitution that stipulates, “The official religion of Iran is Islam and the Twelver Ja’fari school and this principle will remain eternally immutable.”
Furthermore, according to Article 115, only people who belong to Shi’ite ‘Twelver Ja’fari’ denomination are qualified to be a supreme leader and president.